Soybean BNF Research Program

The initial research phase involved a preliminary survey to establish the extent of soybean cultivation and utilization by smallholder farmers and the status of their knowledge of legume N fixation and its benefits. Indigenous rhizobial populations were estimated and their potential effectiveness on local soybean germplasm established in comparison with commercial inoculants. Isolates associating with promiscuous soybean varieties were characterized. Soybean biomass yields, amounts of N fixed and residual fertility effects on maize grown in rotation were quantified. The second phase of the research agenda is on-going and focused on improving soybean yields through improved field management of the legume-rhizobium symbiosis with emphasis on agronomic practices and exploiting promiscuous nodulation where commercial inoculants are not readily available. Pest and disease management and the integration of soybean into crop-livestock systems through utilization of grain and crop residues as feeds are also part of phase two studies. A parallel program is looking at the quality and nutritional value of soya-based foods processed by village women with a view to develop small to medium scale processing enterprises. To strengthen the socio-economic aspects, a research program has commenced to look at institutional constraints to the marketing of soybeans by smallholder farmers.

Human Food

Maize

Figure 1. Conceptual framework for soybean BNF contribution to food security in a smallholder maize-based farming system. Soybean BNF generates biomass (grain, crop residues).

Human Food

Soybean BNF

Maize

FOOD SECURITY

Figure 2. Conceptual framework for research activities for soybean BNF to impact on food security of smallholder farm communities.

FOOD SECURITY

Figure 2. Conceptual framework for research activities for soybean BNF to impact on food security of smallholder farm communities.

0 0

Post a comment