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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes (Legume Innovation Lab) contributes to economic growth and food and nutrition security through knowledge and technology generation that strengthens grain legume (e.g., bean, cowpea, tepary beans, etc.) value chains and enhances the capacity and sustainability of agriculture research institutions that serve grain legume sectors in developing countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Common Bean Disease Workshop a Success

The USDA-ARS Feed-the-Future Grain Legumes Project, in collaboration with ARC (Agricultural Research Council) South Africa, hosted a consortium of 65 bean scientists from 14 countries in Skukuza, South Africa from July 20-23, 2015, to address two common bean diseases of global significance: angular leaf spot, which is the most critical disease problem of beans grown in Africa and South America, and root rots, which are endemic worldwide. 

The first two days of the workshop comprised keynote presentations concerning the past, present, and future research needs for combating these major diseases. During the third day, participants were split into four working groups:

  • angular leaf spot pathology
  • angular leaf spot breeding
  • root rot pathology
  • and root rot breeding

Each group was responsible for presenting future research needs. The fourth day comprised experts’ presentations on breeding for resistance to bruchid seed weevils and important bean diseases caused by bacterial (common blight, halo blight), fungal (anthracnose, rust) and viral (bean common mosaic virus, bean common mosaic necrosis virus) pathogens.


Significant impacts are expected from the global research strategies and collaborations developed by the consortium of scientists to better understand the pathogens, improve pathogen characterization and host screening protocols and tools, and facilitate resistance gene discovery and deployment into improved common bean cultivars for enhanced control of angular leaf spot and root rot diseases worldwide.

Participants came from near and far, including 35 participants from 10 African countries, nine participants from three South American countries, and 21 participants from the United States, including four USDA-ARS scientists that represent the ARS–Feed the Future Grain Legumes Project.  Three ARS Administrators were also in attendance, including Dr. Roy Scott, Dr. Eileen Herrera, and Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young who presented Certificates of Appreciation to three outstanding partners who had made significant contributions to the ARS-FTF Grain Legumes Project.

Other organizations participating in and/or sponsoring the event included CIAT, PABRA (Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance), USAID- Legume Innovation Lab, and the Kirkhouse Trust (African Bean Consortium).  Event sponsors included Dry Bean Producers Organization (DPO), Pannar Seed, and Syngenta South Africa.


Rural UgandaTwo men inspecting cropsPerson holding beansWoman holding beans

IYOP Events Page Launched
The Legume Innovation Lab has created a special link, IYOP, on its menu bar to keep its researcher current on events connected to the International Year of Pulses.

The first page link is dedicated to the March 2016 PanAfrican Grain Legume Conference and will be updated regularly. A general Events page has also been created to provide information on forthcoming events.

While the LIL links will not be comprehensive for all IYOP events (see IYOP’s website for comprehensive information), they will be updated regularly.

Announcements on IYOP events will also appear on the LIL Facebook page and the LIL Twitter site.