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Uganda’s smallholder farmers attract America researchers

by Grace Kisembo

American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America have sponsored a legume crops symposium.

Slated for October 23, in the Tampa a major city in, and the county seat of, Hillsborough County, Florida, United States, the seminar will run under the theme: Building Institutional Capacity in Tropical Legumes.

Uganda, Malawi and Mozambique case studies on smallholder farmers are have been selected for the symposium.

“Building strength in legume-based agricultural systems can help address both of these dire problems,” says Kerry Clark, a researcher at the University of Missouri.

Clark says building soil fertility will provide smallholder farmers economic and nutritional alternatives to current staple crops.

“But a lot of work needs to be done in the countries where the legumes are grown, including public education, training legumes breeders and agronomists, and improving yields so that legumes can compete as viable crops in the tropics.”

Speakers lineup for the seminar include Mark Westgate, Iowa State University.

He will review the work done by Iowa State’s Sustainable Rural Livelihoods program in Uganda, for the past twelve years.

The Center has worked with grade school through college level students to increase awareness of tropical legumes and their nutrition, opportunities for entrepreneurship, and plant breeding programs.

Sieglinde Snapp, Michigan State University, will cover the work that Michigan has done with Malawi extension university faculty and students, and farmers.

Stephen Boahen will review techniques that the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Mozambique, is using to improve access to quality soybean seeds, use of inputs (fertilizer, water), and best practices to improve yield.

Meanwhile Kerry Clark will present work the Soybean Innovation Lab is doing to improve research and breeding in tropically-adapted soybean.

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