Legume Systems Innovation Lab projects are driving innovations in legume insect pest management, new and enhanced variety breeding, alternative cropping systems, technology adoption in trade systems, nutritional approaches, and policy effects on the system. Additional projects will address gaps within our systems approach knowledge base to provide a greater understanding for successful innovation scaling

Farming Systems

a field with crops 
Optimized Shrub System: Improving Cowpea Yields and Strengthening Smallholder Resilience

The project aims to test shrub intercropping to improve yields, remediate degraded soils and provide bio irrigation in farmer cowpea fields. This project works in Senegal. Learn More

three women at a market 
Development of Market-Driven Improved Cowpea Varieties Using Mature-Markers

The project enhances yield potential of elite cowpea varieties and breeding lines in West Africa by adding previously identified traits with defined marker associations using foreground and background selection strategies. This project works in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Senegal. Learn More

insect on a crop 
Science-driven and farmer-oriented insect pest management for cowpea agro-ecosystems in West Africa

The project aims to develop and deploy climate-resilient, environmentally friendly, and economically profitable integrated pest management tools and approaches to minimize the impact of insect pests in cowpea cropping systems. This project works in Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria. Learn More

man grabbing leafs 
Genetic Improvement of Dry Beans for Bruchid Resistance for Southern Africa

The project aims to deliver improved bean varieties that combine good agronomic performance and resistance to bruchids. Bruchids account for over 48% of post-harvest losses in quality and quantity of common bean. This project works in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia. Learn More

woman selling beans at a market 
Sustainable Intensification of Dual-Purpose Cowpea Varieties for Enhanced Food and Fodder in Senegal

The project will develop and evaluate agronomic management strategies for the sustainable intensification of dual-purpose cowpea (i.e., increased grain and fodder quantity and quality on the same land area) into smallholder, agropastoral farming systems across different agroecological zones in Senegal. We will use a farming systems approach to identify enabling biophysical and socioeconomic conditions for technology extrapolation and barriers to adoption that can guide future research and scaling. This project works in Senegal Learn More


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Market, Social and Economic Systems

beans on display at a market 
Promoting Trade Integration in Regional Legume Markets with Mobile Technology

The project will help to bridge the information barriers between farmers, wholesalers and retailers in legume value chains. With the help of a phone-based service, farmers and sellers can communicate better. This project works in Nigeria. Learn More

women at a market preparing food 
Quantifying the Scale and Scope of Nutritious Cowpea Products in Local Markets

The project aims to identify incentives for expanding the array of nutritious cowpea-based products sold in local markets, especially by small-scale women enterprises. This project works in Mali and Senegal. Learn More

three men at a market 
Value Chain Assessment for Key Legume Markets in West Africa

This project will document key actors along the legume value chain in the arid regions of west Africa – their locations, genders, ages, and scale of their business. Mapping of value chains can guide future efforts to make sure food gets to markets and reaches the consumers as well as aiding policymakers by providing information on how value chains function and what makes them resilient. This project works in Niger and Nigeria. Learn More

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Cowpea Atlas Phase 1: Mapping Cowpea Data Sources and Gaps in West Africa

The Cowpea-based project is intended to build and make available a user-friendly platform including databases for each segment of cowpea value chains. After the implementation of this project (Phases 1 and 2), stakeholders involved in cowpea value chains (including policy makers, researchers, producers, traders, processors, extension agents and NGOs) in Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal and other non-target countries will have access to accurate data on cowpea for better decision making in West Africa. Learn More





Improving Incomes and Nutrition Security Through Development and Commercialization of Consumer Preferred Processed Legume-based Products in Malawi and Zambia

This project will work to support the development of legume-based agro-processing operations, through understanding factors that drive and constrain the demand for nutrient rich legumes, as well as identifying relevant interventions to alleviate these constraints, in Malawi and Zambia. Learn More





Field with crops 
How Input Subsidy Policies Change the Legume Farming Landscape

The project aims to enhance policy understanding of the consequences of fertilizer subsidies for the cowpea value chain with specific focus on crop diversity, gender- and youth-differentiation, and diet quality. This project works in Burkina Faso and Mali. Learn More




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Transforming Seed Systems to Respond to Bean Variety Demand Through Multistakeholder Platforms in Malawi

The premise of this study is that integrating bean seed systems in the private sector-led multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) does stimulate investment in certified bean seed of market-preferred varieties, resulting in: i) increased and sustainable seed supply of farmer and consumer demanded varieties ii) increased quantities of certified seed purchased by men, women and youth farmers, and iii) reduced time for farmers’ uptake of varieties that were purposely designed with a client focus facilitate rapid learning through MSP-based participatory variety evaluation approaches. Learn More