Updated Sep 08, 2020

Doubled-Up Legumes

https://africa-rising.net

Jonathan Odhong

The ‘doubled-up’ legumes system is based on intercropping of grain legumes, with pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) as one component – increasing the total legume yield per unit area.

Intercropping two grain legumes exploits their complementary growth habits and plant architecture. The most successful doubled-up legumes system is pigeon pea with groundnut (Arachis hypogaea). Both crops are planted at their normal monocrop densities (additive) or one or both crops planted at a lower density (partial substitutive), depending on level of water stress in a site. Groundnut and...
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Intercropping two grain legumes exploits their complementary growth habits and plant architecture. The most successful doubled-up legumes system is pigeon pea with groundnut (Arachis hypogaea). Both crops are planted at their normal monocrop densities (additive) or one or both crops planted at a lower density (partial substitutive), depending on level of water stress in a site. Groundnut and pigeon pea are planted at the same time. Pigeon pea grows very slowly during the first 3 months, only starting rapid growth as the groundnut approaches maturity. After groundnut harvest, pigeon pea grows as a sole crop. Groundnut is often considered as the main crop in the intercrop, and so is planted at its ordinarily ‘sole cropping’ density. Pigeon pea is then planted at 50–100% of its sole cropping density. In marginal areas, substitutive intercropping minimizes competition for nutrients and water between the two crops.
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Stage 5: Scaling

The technology has undergone largescale testing with smallholder farmers for over 8 years in the central districts of Malawi (Dedza and Ntcheu). Other trials have also been done in the Eastern Province of Zambia. In 2017, the doubled-up legumes technology was officially ‘released’ by the Government of Malawi as a technology that can be mainstreamed across the country for soil fertility improvement and improved human nutrition outcomes.

Focus Areas:

Agriculture, Resilience and Soil Management

Agriculture, Resilience and Soil ManagementSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi

Zambia, Tanzania and MalawiSEE LESS

3
Countries Implemented In
1,500
Customers
Verified Funding
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Problem

Smallholder farmers in Malawi contend with the challenges of small farm size, low soil fertility and production risks associated with rainfed agriculture. The integration of legumes into maize-based cropping systems is as a means to increase the production of diverse nutrient-dense grains and improve soil fertility. It is difficult to achieve both aims simultaneously, however, the doubled-up legumes technology enables them to figuratively 'kill two birds with one stone'.

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Solution

Doubled-up legumes technology provides a diversification strategy for smallholders. Doubling up legumes fulfills multiple objectives, including (i) integrating more grain legumes when land is limiting, (ii) rehabilitating fields with poor soil fertility, and (iii) extending ground cover in cropped lands as pigeon pea can be in the field for 6–8 months, depending on the variety used. The technology has been piloted with Malawian smallholders on 0.5–2 ha of land.

Target Beneficiaries

Smallholder farmers in Malawi and other Feed the Future focus countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Mission and Vision

(i) Improved smallholder farmer production/productivity. (ii) Better nutrition in smallholder families (iii) Resilient smallholder farming communities (iv) Improved soil fertility at minimal costs to the already resource-constrained smallholder farmers.

Competitive Advantage

The doubled-up legume technology has been tested and validated together with farmers for over 8 years through a participatory research-in-development process. This technology has various adaptation possibilities that can be aligned to different household resource endowments (see supporting material on 'different strokes for different folks'). Through the research process the team also gained very good data about the technologies' trade-offs with regards to the most critical elements for sustainable intensification including productivity, economic, environment, human condition and social domains.

Planned Goals and Milestones

With the right partnership and funding support, the project team plans to continue scaling the technology to reach more smallholder farmers.
Funding Goal700,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted80,000
New Implemented CountriesAngola, Mozambique, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania

The Team Behind the Innovation

(1.) Regis Chikowo, Agricultural Systems Scientist, Michigan State University, Lilongwe, Malawi (2.) Sieglinde Snapp, Soils and Cropping Systems Ecologist, Michigan State University, Michigan, USA (3.) Mateete Bekunda, Chief Scientist, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Arusha, Tanzania (4.) Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon, Manager - Africa RISING, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Sep 2016
Funds RaisedVERIFIED
$650,000
TITLETransforming Key Production Systems: Maize Mixed East and Southern Africa
TYPEGrant
FOCUS AREAS
Agriculture
Implemented InMalawi, Zambia and Tanzania
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Malawi
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Tanzania
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Zambia

Supporting Materials

Doubled-up-Legume-Brief-orientation-null.pdf
ESA-infographic1-orientation-null.pdf
DUL-extension-circular-orientation-null.pdf