Agro-Ecological Distribution of Legumes in Farming Systems and Identification of Biophysical Niches for Legumes Growth

  • S. M. Nandwa
  • S. N. Obanyi
  • P. L. Mafongoya


Legumes have potential of enhancing sustainable productivity in crop and forestry systems especially in developing countries where agricultural productivity is on the decline. However, adoption and integration of legumes in farming systems has been difficult to achieve because of biophysical and socio-economic constraints faced by landusers who are predominantly smallholder farmers. There is need therefore, to develop appropriate agroecological and social niches within which different legume crops can be fully realized, be they multipurpose in nature or of specific benefits. Potential niches for the “best bet” legumes fall into temporal niches which are defined by sequential or simultaneous occurrence of food crops and legumes; and spatial niches, defined by the best place on the farm to plant different legumes; depending on farmers priorities and preferences, soil fertility, farm size, climate and other factors. This chapter explores different efforts that have been undertaken to suite legume crops to different agroecological and farmer settings in sub-Saharan Africa.


Food Insecurity Farming System Green Manure Fodder Tree Temporal Niche 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. M. Nandwa
    • 1
  • S. N. Obanyi
    • 2
  • P. L. Mafongoya
    • 3
  1. 1.Kenya Agricultural Research Institute – National Agricultural Research Laboratories (KARI-NARL)NairobiKenya
  2. 2.Kenya Agricultural Research Institute – National Agricultural Research Laboratories (KARI-NARL)NairobiKenya
  3. 3.Department of Soil Science and Agricultural EngineeringUniversity of ZimbabweHarareZimbabwe

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