ISU-2, Enhancing Biological Nitrogen Fixation of Leguminous Crops Grown on Degraded Soils in Uganda, Rwananiada, and Tanz.

Iowa State University as lead university           

Enhancing biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) of leguminous crops grown on degraded soils in Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania

U.S. PIs & Institutions and Collaborating Host Countries
Lead U.S.:
Mark Westgate Department of Sociology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Mateete Bekunda: Makerere, Uganda
Lynne Carpenter-Boggs: WSU, U.S.
Karen Cichy: USDA-ARS, U.S.
James D. Kelly: MSU, U.S.
Phillip Miklas:  USDA-ARS, U.S.
Henry Kizito Musoke: VEDC, Uganda
Susan Mchimbi-Msolla, SUA, Morogoro, Tanzania
Augustine Musoni, ISAR Nygatare
Eda Reinot: Becker Underwood, Inc., U.S.
Hamisi Tindwa: SUA, Morogoro, Tanzania
Michael Ugen: NCRI, Uganda
Peg Armstrong-Gustafson: amson technology l.c., U.S.

ISU-2 Workplan FY12 ISU-2 Workplan FY11.pdf 

ISU-2 Projected Impact Pathways

ISU-2 Tech Prog Rpt FY11  ISU-2 Tech Prog Rpt FY10




  1. The first strategic aim is to improve BNF and seed yields of common beans significantly using superior seed inoculants such as Becker Underwood’s BioStacked® inoculant through farmer-based experimentation and adoption of innovative production techniques. 1a: To evaluate effectiveness of biologically stacked inoculants on local and improved germplasm.
  2. The second strategic aim is to examine the inheritance of genetic and environmental variation in BNF in common bean, and to identify molecular markers associated with QTL conditioning for enhanced BNF, 2a: To identify parental materials for inheritance studies of BNF, 2b: To phenotype existing mapping populations for BNF response, populate with molecular markers, and conduct QTL analysis
  3. The third strategic aim is to improve the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of agricultural systems on degraded soils through effective dissemination of new information and technologies to small-landholder farmers, 3a: To improve farmer awareness of inoculation technologies, 3b: To conduct on-farm demonstrations comparing inoculant strategies, 3c: To strengthen farmers’ collective capabilities to purchase inoculants and incorporate them into a profitable and sustainable system for small landholders.
  4. Increase the capacity, effectiveness and sustainability of agriculture research institutions which serve the bean and cowpea sectors in developing countries

Problem Statement:

Common beans are the most important legume crop in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania occupying a very large proportion of land devoted to legumes. For example, over 45% of the protein intake by Ugandans comes from beans providing 25% of dietary calories. Likewise, over 75% of rural households in Tanzania depend on beans for daily subsistence. Common bean is an important source of protein for low-income families in rural and urban areas providing about 38% of utilizable protein and 12-16% of daily caloric requirements. Improved bean production in Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania offers unique opportunities to address the deteriorating food security situation there and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Target Outputs:

  • New knowledge on bean germplasm x inoculant x environment interactions to inform ongoing variety development programs in the U.S. and host countries about specific improvements in BNF needed to realize enhanced yield, nutritional value, and marketability of dry beans and other pulses.
  • Seven graduate students and (at least) five undergraduate students trained in agricultural research and extension.
  • Methods and conditions for profitable use of superior legume inoculants determined.