Legume Scholars Program Launched
Submissions Due By December 19, 2014
By 2050 the world will need to feed two billion additional people. A challenge this serious requires the best and brightest ideas in agricultural science. Want to help feed the future? Consider applying for a Graduate Fellowship from the Legume Scholars Program.
Announcing a new partnership between the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and USAID’s Feed the Future Innovation Labs for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes (Legume Innovation Lab) and Peanut Productivity and Mycotoxin Control (Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab).
This new program is specifically targeting promising young scientists from developing countries committed to pursuing research careers involving legume crops. Graduates from the program will further strengthen the research capacity of institutions in their home countries committed to the growth and development of the legume sectors through scientific inquiry.
Legumes—especially grain legumes—are critical crops in developing countries. They are nutrient dense, staple foods that help ensure food and nutritional security while providing needed household income for smallholder farmers, a majority of whom are women, who are the principle producers of grain legumes in many regions of the world.
Accepted students will conduct research at major U.S. and other international universities in key areas, including agriculture economics, crop physiology, food science, gender studies, nutrition, plant breeding and genetics, plant protection, soil science, and the social sciences.
The Fellowship provides full tuition and living expenses for up to two years for an M.Sc. and up to four years for a Ph.D. program; medical coverage; airfare and related travel expenses; a personal computer; field and lab research opportunities; and professional development workshops.
Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes (formerly the Pulse CRSP) contributes to economic growth and food and nutrition security through knowledge and technology generation that strengthens grain legume (e.g., bean, cowpea, pigeon pea, etc.) value chains and enhances the capacity and sustainability of agriculture research institutions that serve grain legume sectors in developing countries of Africa and Latin America.
Tepary Beans Offer Hope for Hot, Drought Prone Areas Affected by Climate Change
Smallholder bean farmers living in hot, dry agroecological zones in Central America and Haiti have difficulty growing common bean, a staple crop critical for household food security and livelihoods. The tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius),
Seed of improved tepary versus unimproved tepary (top left)
a sister species of common bean grown by Native Americans for more than 5,000 years in semi-arid production systems in Mexico and the Southwest United States, has naturally evolved with resistances to drought and high temperature conditions. This underutilized bean species, which produces seeds similar in shape, color, and taste to common bean, is an alternative crop that can be grown in Continued. Link to full story/Spotlight 1.
While in a PhD program at MSU, Mukeshimana’s research focused on the genetics of common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris, to identify drought tolerant genes and traits. Women Farmer Organizations Assume Active Role in Cowpea Seed Multiplication in Burkina Faso
Production of quality seed of improved varieties of cowpea and rural smallholder farmer access to such quality seed at affordable prices
are major constraints to enhancing farmer adoption of the improved varieties necessary to increase on-farm grain legume productivity. Link to full story.
Advances in Understanding and Guiding Farmer Decision-Making Strategies
Poor soil fertility and crop management practices have left thousands of smallholder bean farmers in Uganda and Mozambique struggling to
grow even 10 to 25 percent of their potential crop yield. A Legume Innovation Lab project on Farmer Decision Making Strategies for Improved Soil Fertility Management in Maize–Bean Production Systems. . . , however, is combining soil and social science to bring hope to these farmers—farmers like Angélica A. in the story below—for improved, sustainable crop yields. Link to full story.
Legume Innovation Lab Graduate Student Kelvin Kamfwa
Meet Kelvin Kamfwa, a Legume Innovation Lab-sponsored graduate student at Michigan State University. Kelvin conducts research on plant breeding and genetics research under Jim Kelly, Lead PI of the Legume Innovation Lab project Improving Genetic Yield Potential of Andean Beans with Increased Resistances to Drought and Major Foliar Diseases and Enhanced Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF).
Kelvin Kamfwa at MSU‘s bean research fields (l.) and in the lab. (rt.)
Throughout the spring of 2014, an MSU film crew documented the important work Kelvin engages in every day. Link here to learn more about his work.
New Pest Management Grant to Improve Cowpea Yields in West Africa
The Legume Innovation Lab at Michigan State University has received a $1.45 million grant for a three-year research project to develop integrated pest management (IPM) solutions utilizing biologicals to sustainably manage cowpea pests in smallholder farms in five West African countries.
FTF Newsletter Features Legume Innovation Lab Project
USAID’s Feed the Future Newsletter featured a Legume Innovation Lab project, IPM-omics: Scalable and sustainable solutions for pest management of insect pests of cowpea in Africa, in October 2014. Situated at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, the project’s work is in West Africa, specifically, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Niger. Part of the project’s many objectives involves teaching smallholder farmers some of the pest management techniques. To advance this goal, the project team developed a series of animated educational videos that can be downloaded and viewed on cell phones. Using voice-over technology, the same easy-to-understand video content can be used throughout countries and regions by simply changing the narrative language.
Legume Innovation Lab Launches Facebook Page
The Legume Innovation Lab is on Facebook. Please “like” our page here to receive updates and stories on legume research.
Legume Innovation Lab on Twitter
The Legume Innovation Lab has launched a Twitter account named Legume InnovationLab. Follow our feed to receive the latest updates on the Lab and research and development work related to the legume sector.