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Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (2019)

Exploring the viability of re-introducing Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet as a multifunctional legume in northern Tanzania.

Forsythe, Christopher

Titre : Exploring the viability of re-introducing Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet as a multifunctional legume in northern Tanzania.

Auteur : Forsythe, Christopher

Université de soutenance : Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Grade : Master’s Thesis in Agricultural Science/Agroecology 2019

Tanzanian people are currently facing food insecurity, poor nutrition and poverty. Agriculture is not meeting the demand since Tanzania is a net food importer. Smallholder farmers continue to be poor and rely heavily on one simple system of maize intercropped with common bean, two economically important staples, however, this system is suffering declining yields. One way to make the system more resilient is to diversify the system through growing rarely-used indigenous legume species that are already adapted to the harsh environment of the region. One legume crop called Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet, can improve food security because it is considered to have multiple valuable uses. Lablab provides food for humans and livestock, generates income as a cash crop, improves soil through high levels of nitrogen-fixation and is drought resistant. Factors threatening lablab’s adoption by farmers include poor access to improved varieties, extreme attractiveness to damaging insects, poor marketing channels, low human palatability and lack of knowledge for production and marketing. These are the many socio-ecological factors that farmers must overcome to increase adoption. This study used farmer interviews for the goal of determining if lablab is viable and in-fact multifunctional to benefit smallholder farmers in the proposed region of northern Tanzania. Another objective of the interviews was to learn more about farmers uses of lablab and their traditional knowledge of growing lablab production. Also included in the thesis was a field experiment where several different indigenous lablab accessions were field tested either sole cropped or intercropped with maize to determine if genetic insect resistance is available among them. Farmers ranked economic factors number one as both motivation and constraints to grow or not to grow lablab, highlighting the shift towards using the grain primarily for income generation rather than home consumption. The constraints were identified as “poor market price” showing that the lablab market needs to be expanded and product transportation costs need to be lowered for greater adoption by farmers. The insect relative abundance study identified several accessions that are more tolerant to damaging insect pests when compared to commercial lablab varieties. The study also revealed that intercropping lablab with maize can help towards lowering the abundance of certain pest insect species. The results of the insect study will be used towards developing and making available to farmers improved accessions. The information gained from conducting farmer interviews will provide solid information towards increasing production of a potentially important crop for smallholder farmers in the region and subsequently to improve their livelihoods and food security.

Mots Clés  : Tanzania, agroecology, Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet, insect pest, accession, smallholder, multifunctional, viable, intercrop, indigenous species, socio-ecological niche, syste


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