The Legume Production and Development Sub-Group of the Field Food Crop Group (FFCG).
In our sub-group we focus on issues related to the development of food legumes such as bean, pea, chickpea, pigeonpea, grams and lentil, as well as oilseed legumes such as groundnut and soybean. We support national programmes, including National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), working directly with farmers to improve the productivity, the economic returns and the sustainability of their crop production systems by incorporating legume crops.
We mainly give support in the form of advice at the policy level, including backstopping country-level projects in which legume improvement is important. We also give modest financial support to regional and global networks promoting the development of technology, and especially its spread. And we also support legume development producing technical publications on legume crops and cropping systems. We support FAO's Special Programme on Food Security for Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDC) because legumes are an important part of the diet of people in such countries. In addition, using them in diverse production systems improves the sustainability of the systems by providing breaks in disease and pest cycles and, in some cases, by contributing to the soil nitrogen pool through biological nitrogen fixation.
Some of our recent activities in the FFCG/Legume Development (FFCG/LD) are described in this section. The list is not fully comprehensive, partly because of the rolling plan of our work, which is frequently updated in response to budget and priority shifts. The format of our presentation of FFCG/CD activities is modelled on the "logical framework" approach to project formulation. That is, the General Objective(s) are achieved when a set of outputs, generally under the control of the sub-group, are completed. Activities are the specific actions that are taken by the sub-group, working with partners, to realize the outputs.
Through promotion, advice, information and technical backstopping we give quality assistance to member governments and their partners to improve legume production to meet food needs and to enhance sustainable crop production systems.
1. We provide support and guidance to Regional and Global Legume Programmes and Conferences.
Specific activities include:
* Financial support to assist the Coordination Unit (Bogor, Indonesia) of the Asian Food Legume Coarse Grains Network.
* Our legume officer is working on the organizing committees for the International Cool Season Food Legume Conference III, to be held in Adelaide Australia, 22-26 September 1997.
* Our legume office is working on the organizing committee for the World Soybean Research Conference VI., to be held in 2000; the venue is still under negotiation.
2. We set up pilot testing of innovative technologies in farmers' fields.
We provided funding support to national programmes in Cameroon and Nigeria to find out if pesticides used on cotton could also protect cowpeas, which are sown in intercropping association with cotton; this initiative is being carried out with AGPC-Industrial Crops Group.
We are providing funding support to the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training for a pilot test, with farmers taking part, in a research project on a cropping system that includes soybean with melon, cassava and maize. The aim is to optimize financial returns and stabilize productivity in the bimodal rainfall zone in Oyo State, Nigeria.
3. We have developed new publications on legumes.
We published "Tropical Soybean:Improvement and Promotion" (This publication can be purchased through FAO's publication division< >
We commissioned a position paper on Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba), a gum-producing legume that could be useful in crop diversification programmes.
We also commissioned a publication, Soybean in Cropping Systems in India, to examine the phenomenal expansion of this crop in smallholder crop production systems. We expect this article is expected to be published in the second edition of the new AGPC Series, Integrated Crop Management.
4. We support National Programme Development
We at AGPC are providing technical backstopping to the UNDP-funded support project to food legumes in Zambia. This programme addresses the major areas of pulse and oilseed legume development in the country. Plant breeding is well organized and new materials are being generated and tested in different ecozones in Zambia. Seed production by smallholder farmers is being successfully introduced and a well-organized extension and information system on the project is linked not only to government extension services, but also to many NGO partners.
Smallholder soybean production and use is being promoted the Philippines with FAO's technical input and funding support from UNDP. Soybean production is expanding in traditional and new areas and local uses are expanding too, particularly ice creams based on soybean milk.
Eric A Kueneman (FFCG Leader, Senior Officer). In addition to
providing overall coordination of the Group, he looks after technical
inputs related to food legumes (such as bean, pea, cowpea, pigeon
pea, chick pea, lentil, grams, etc.) and oilseed legumes (such as
soybean and groundnut). He also focuses on cropping systems, on
agro-ecoregional approaches, information management and promotion of
crop research. Mr. Kueneman was recently involved in promoting the
Consortium for coherent research and development of the Moist Savanna
Agro-ecozone of Sub-Saharan Africa, and on information management on
Eric A. Kueneman, Senior Officer
Crop and Grassland Service
Plant Production and Protection Division
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla -00100 Roma
Tel. 522-54930, Fax: 522 56347 or 522 56305