Dr. Julia Kornegay, chair of the Legume Innovation Lab Technical Management Advisory Committee (TMAC), presented the Legume Innovation Lab Award for Meritorious Achievement to the following researchers at the 2014 Global Grain Legume Researchers Meeting in Athens, Greece, May 2014.
Dr. Issa Drabo, Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles
Dr. Jeffrey D. Ehlers, University of California, Riverside
Dr. James D. Kelly, Michigan State University
The award recognizes and honors “laudable contributions to research on grain legumes and the development of technologies and policies that benefit smallholder farmers in developing countries.” The awards were presented during the Legume Innovation Lab Banquet, held on May 15 in the Radisson Blu Park Hotel in Athens, Greece. For more informtion on each of the awardees, click the link attached to their name.
There is a new request for proposals from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that may be of interest to our host country collaborators/ PIs: the Program for Emerging Agricultural Research Leaders.The website is can be reached by linking here.
The lead PI must be an MSc or PhD scientist at a national agricultural research institution or university in sub-Saharan Africa working in collaboration with other researchers internationally (e.g., working with Legume Innovation Lab U.S. researchers). Awards range from $200,000 – 500,000 over a maximum of four years. Beans, cowpeas and chickpeas are among the target crops. Pre-proposals are due September 7, 2014.
The October issue of USAID’s Feed the Future Newsletter highlights the increased profits achieved by smallholder farmers in Senegal “who have adopted improved cowpea varieties developed” through the Legume Innovation Lab. Link to FTF’s story “Investments in Improved Cowpea Varieties Pay off in Senegal.”
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes (Legume Innovation Lab) is a four and a half year research and capacity building program (2013–2017) funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that focuses on edible grain legumes, including common bean, cowpea, pigeon pea, and lima bean, among others. The program builds upon the scientific advances and technological achievements of the Bean/Cowpea and Dry Grain Pulses CRSPs while responding to the agriculture development priorities and objectives set forth in USAID’s Feed the Future (FTF) Presidential Initiative in FTF focus countries and regions.
Because growth in the agricultural sector has proven highly effective in reducing long-term poverty, Feed the Future’s research strategy focuses on helping developing countries cultivate and strengthen their own agricultural sectors to improve food security and increase economic opportunities and incomes for smallholder farmers, many of whom are women providing directly for their households. Feed the Future’s goals emphasize the use of scientific knowledge and innovation to ensure smallholder farmers sustainably increase food production, can adapt to climate change, and can access and use transformative technologies and innovations.
The Legume Innovation Lab is strategically positioned to fully support and to contribute to FTF objectives and research goals. Legumes are a nutrient-dense staple crop that has multifunctional roles in smallholder farm systems in developing countries, including food and nutrition security, generating needed income, and contributing to the sustainability of farm systems. The strength of the Legume Innovation Lab’s research strategy lies in its an innovative and vibrant research, technology dissemination, and capacity building strategies that not only build upon the technical advances achieved during its previous award periods but its ongoing commitment to exploiting opportunities to make substantial new technological gains to improve the cropping systems for legumes in developing countries.
The strategic objectives of the Legume Innovation Lab include:
- Increasing legume productivity
- Improving legume value chains through better management decision making among smallholder farmers and local governments
- Enhancing nutrition, especially among the most vulnerable populations—women and children
- Improving gut health, including the ability to absorb nutrients from food, through the consumption of grain legumes
- Improving outcomes research and capacity building in the countries they’re partnered with to ensure the long-term effectiveness of the program
To fulfill these objectives, the Legume Innovation Lab will continue to focus on such strategic areas as genetic enhancement, marker-assisted selection, root biology, pest and disease management, sustainable community livelihoods, clinical and community nutrition, gender, communication science, value-chain research, and market development.
Through collaborative projects with scientists at research-intensive agricultural universities, nongovernmental organizations, and private sector partners, Legume Innovation Lab scientists will develop technologies and generate knowledge to reduce the yield gap in legume cropping systems, help develop legume value chains in developing countries, accelerate research on disease and pest management in legume crops, and maximize the potential for development outcomes and benefits to stakeholders in developing countries. (For details on these and other research goals and activities, please explore our full website.)
Our new name reflects a renewed commitment to integrating program strengths with Feed the Future goals as well as recommendations from the Technical Management Advisory Committee (TMAC) and the External Evaluation Team (EET) commissioned by USAID. Expanded partnerships and coordinated activities with the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) through the CRP3.5 on Grain Legumes and Africa RISING in areas where the Legume Innovation Lab has comparative strength and ongoing collaborative efforts will also play a significant role in the Legume Innovation Lab.
2014 Legume Innovation Lab Global Meeting
Stories on the Global Grain Legume Researchers Meeting, Improving Agriculture and Nutrition through Grain Legumes, held 12-16 May in Athens, Greece, will be posted the week of June 2, 2014. Watch for them!
The CGIAR Research program on Grain Legumes has launched a new newsletter, the Grain Legumes FEED. Link to the title to download and to subscribe.