Charting the 12 year course of the Tropical Legumes project

An engaging read while in lockdown
Sowing Legume Seeds, Reaping Cash: A Renaissance within Communities in Sub-Saharan Africa
(A Springer Open publication. Download here)

This compilation of real-life ‘impact’ stories from the Tropical Legumes projects over the past 12 years makes for an engaging read. You have stories of courage and hope, of women and men overcoming odds to rise above their situations, of people giving back to their communities and the role public-private organizations and research institutes play in bringing in positive and sustainable changes in farming communities and the society.

The book captures the societal impact of the Tropical Legumes project that successfully worked towards developing an efficient seed delivery system for grain legume crops in the semi-arid tropics of Africa and Asia. The stories in this edition focus on a couple of key areas and crops ­– groundnut and common beans in Tanzania and Uganda, groundnut and cowpea in Nigeria and groundnut in Ghana.

Experiences of stakeholders along the value chain make for an interesting read. “National agricultural research institutes, knowledge brokering organizations, NGOs, public seed companies, private seed companies, agro-dealers, individual seed entrepreneurs, farm implement makers, farmer cooperatives, farmer groups, individual farmers, women farmers, middlemen, processors, traders, and consumers were all involved  in this experience. This book provides learning opportunities for development workers, technical staff, and project managers. It will also inspire development workers and project managers to share their own experiences for others to learn from,” says the blurb.

Enjoy the straightforward narration, ignore the spellers and get straight to the heart of the stories. Read the excerpts to get a feel of the book.


Photo: Ndichu J, ICRISATtraders

Photo: Ndichu J, ICRISATtraders

Tanzanian doctor grows groundnut on his dispensary farm

“The nutritional benefit of groundnut in the baby’s body is the protein value. Groundnut in the porridge helps with the growth of the child. Also, pregnant women need protein to avoid giving birth to underweight children.

After giving them training, about fifteen mothers went ahead and planted the seeds at their home and they came to show us the results.”

Dr Steve Julius runs a dispensary at Ilindi, Bahi district, Tanzania

Photo: Ndichu J, ICRISAT

Photo: Ndichu J, ICRISAT

Growing groundnuts is part of the school curriculum

“We teach the children how to plant groundnut in school and the groundnut becomes food for them. When we sell groundnut as a school, we direct those funds to the ‘Elimu ya Kujitegemea’ (self-reliance) department.”

Mr Ajili Mkero, a teacher at Nanyumbu Primary School, Tanzania 



Ugandan women’s group journey from farm laborers to entrepreneurs

“We started out as farm laborers where we would get hired by community members during planting and weeding season. We also planted groundnut for grain but our earnings from the work were insufficient and we needed to look for diverse ways to sustain our needs.

When we started (seed production), we were a bit skeptical on who would buy our produce. Two years into the business, we have links with seed companies and organizations – We have also benefited from workshops and demonstrations organized by the TL projects and thus expanded our networks, the opportunities we have received surpassed our expectations.”

Purlonyo Women Group (Most of the members can now afford to keep their children in school with the profit made from the groundnut sales.)

Ms Apiyo Hellen, a groundnut trader, shows off her roasted groundnut at Arapai market in Soroti, Uganda. Photo: Manyasa E, ICRISAT

Ms Apiyo Hellen, a groundnut trader, shows off her roasted groundnut at Arapai market in Soroti, Uganda. Photo: Manyasa E, ICRISAT

Growing businesses, growing people

“When we started, we had no office to call our own, today we have established a permanent office, a showroom, a shop, an agricultural laboratory, and a conference room.

Our biggest success with Tropical Legumes projects is the introduction of the company to scientists and to extension workers. They have exposed us to many other players with several best practices in the seed industry. The benefits are many and beyond mere finances. We have been enhanced as a company,” Late Awalu Balarabe (left in the photo), Managing Director, Maina Seeds Company, Nigeria.

Photo: A Diama, ICRISAT

Photo: A Diama, ICRISAT

For more on the TL III project read:

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