We are pleased to announce that the Feed the Future Innovation Lab Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes, known as the Dry Grain Pulses Collaborative Research Support Program (Pulse CRSP) from 2007 to 2012 and now to be called the Legume Innovation Lab, has been awarded a $24.5 million extension for 4.5 years, through September 29, 2017.
The research work of Pulse CRSP PI Dr. Barry Pittendrigh (PI-UIUC-1) was featured on the Big Ten Network in February 2013.
Link to main video article
Dr. Irv Widders, director, and Dr. Cynthia Donovan, deputy director, Legume Innovation Lab, were interviewed at the 2012 World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa, in December 2012, on how grain legumes contribute to Feed the Future Strategic Initiatives. Link to Video.
(This column is updated regularly to reflect vital information for researchers and managers connected to PULSE CRSP projects and grants. If nothing is listed, nothing is immediately due.)
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes (Legume Innovation Lab) is a 4.5-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, lima bean, etc. 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.
The strength of the Legume Innovation Lab lies in its cutting-edge research capacities through U.S. universities in such strategic areas as genomics, marker-assisted selection, root biology, symbiotic plant-Rhizobia interactions, systems science, sustainable community livelihoods, clinical and community nutrition, gender, communication science, value-chain research, and market development.
Through collaborative projects with scientists at National Agriculture Research Systems, research-intensive agricultural universities, nongovernmental organizations, and private sector partners, who have a presence in strategic countries and regions and expertise on local agricultural systems, these collective capacities can be brought to bear to develop technologies and generate knowledge that will address the development challenges facing legume value chains in developing countries. Legume Innovation Lab scientists coordinate and collaborate with grain legume scientists within the CGIAR, including CIAT, IITA, and ICRISAT, in areas of common interest to accelerate research gains and maximize the potential for development outcomes and benefits to stakeholders of legume value chains in developing countries.
The Management Office believes that the Legume Innovation Lab is strategically positioned to support and contribute to the goals and objectives set forth in USAID’s FTF research strategy. Legumes are recognized as a nutrient-dense staple that has multifunctional roles in smallholder farm systems in developing countries. These strategically important roles include providing for the food and nutritional security of households; generating needed income, especially for women, who are the principle producers of grain legumes in many regions of the world; and for contributing to the sustainability of farm systems. The challenge recognized in the research strategy, however, is to increase grain legume productivity as average global yields remain unacceptably low with large yield gaps.
As you visit the website of the Legume Innovation Lab , I hope that you gain an appreciation of the exciting research, technology dissemination, and training achievements of the program and its alignment with Feed the Future development goals and focus countries. In particular, I encourage you to explore and learn about:
- the new bean and cowpea varieties that have been released and are being adopted by smallholder farmers in Central America (Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Haiti), West Africa (Burkina Faso, Senegal), and Rwanda;
- the potential of biological controls for the sustainable management of pod-sucking insect pests including Maruca in cowpea;
- the important nutritional and health promoting roles of beans and cowpea in diets, especially for young children; and
- the opportunities to improve smallholder farmer access and participation in domestic markets.
Moreover, I encourage you to note the Legume Innovation Lab’s engagement and collaboration with research institutions in 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin American, 13 of which are FTF focus countries, plus the program’s commitment to training and enhancing the capacity of these institutions.
Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes
Announcements & Opportunities
U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute
The U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security Program is offering a two-week learning program for graduate students interested in developing a holistic understanding of the conceptual challenges around global food security with a focus on cross-disciplinary problem solving of real-world development challenges. For more information, click here.