Welcome from the Director


Welcome to the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes (Legume Innovation Lab), a four and a half-year research and capacity building program (2013–2017) funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and managed at Michigan State University. The main objectives of the Legume Innovation Lab are to increase the productivity of beans and other grain legumes (cowpea, chickpea, lima beans, and the like) by smallholder farmers and to enhance the nutritional quality of diets of the poor in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the United States.

The Legume Innovation Lab is an extension of USAID’s Dry Grain Pulses Collaborative Research Support Program (Pulse CRSP) award (2007-2012), which evolved from the Bean/Cowpea CRSP (2002-2007); both programs were managed by Michigan State University, where legume research has been ongoing for more than 30 years.

USAID renewed its support and has privileged grain legume research because of its past successes and continued potential to improve the lives of smallholder farmers. Beans and related legumes are critical crops in developing countries. They are nutrient dense, staple foods that help ensure household food and nutritional security while providing needed household income, especially for women, who are the principal producers of grain legumes in many regions of the world.

The Legume Innovation Lab supports collaborative research between U.S.-based university scientists and scientists in developing countries to generate technologies (e.g., improved bean lines that yield more crops per hectare) that benefit farmers. Key areas include genetics, plant breeding, improving and maintaining soil health, integrated pest management, human nutrition, and marketing of edible grain legumes. Gender equity and climate change also play a significant role in this research. Graduate student training that improves the research capacity of scientists in developing countries further contributes to the long-term agricultural expertise that positively impacts people and communities.

We are excited to be continuing grain legume research aligned with Feed the Future research objectives and goals and look forward to seeing the scientific advances supported by our program contribute to improving the lives of the world’s poor.

I thank you for visiting the Legume Innovation Lab website. If you desire any additional information on the technical and administrative aspects of the program, please contact the Management Office of the Legume Innovation Lab at legumelab@anr.msu.edu. You can also read about our annual accomplishments in the Legume Innovation Lab Highlights Report, , a report that is issued annually. We and the entire international community of legume scientists and partner institutions welcome the opportunity to serve and to collaborate to achieve our global mission of sustainably improving the livelihoods and nutrition of stakeholders of legume value chains.


Irvin Widders
Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes


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