Este miembro participó en las siguientes discusiones
I agree with Vicki Morrone that seed systems policies and implementation are a major constraint to improvements in legume productivity for smallholder farmers, and enabling more options with the seed systems, especially for local quality seed production, is important. Even with relatively modest research investments, the national systems in collaboration with US universities, CGIAR and other partners have released varieties that resist or are tolerant to many biotic and abiotic stresses.
With climate change, the diversity in legumes as well as the advances in varietal development can help reduce risks and provide alternatives, but only with the research and extension systems can partner to get the quality seeds out along with the needed education on options. The State of Food and Agriculture 2016 (http://bit.ly/2exORXO ) just released today indicates the role of legumes in reducing carbon emissions, and other research shows that as a human protein sources, legumes use much less water, inorganic fertilizer and land per kilo of protein produced, although they must be eaten with complementary grains for complete proteins.
As mentioned by Pierrette Mubadi, there is a tendency to leave legumes behind as households transition to middle and higher income or shift from rural to urban. The cooking time and convenience issues are important for some, but efforts to make the humble legumes “modern” or “desirable” are needed to change the perception of legumes as the “protein of the poor” or desperation food. In Guatemala the MASFRIJOL program (http://legumelab.msu.edu/associated_projects/masfrijol ) of USAID with the Feed the Future Legume Innovation Lab is working to value consumption based on common beans as a “heritage food” to be treasured for all the nutrients they bring to soils and human health. In Ecuador, a radio campaign was created with one of the champion soccer players from the bean growing area touting how beans make him a great player. For Rwanda, bean songs are available on youtube. Do these efforts have an effect? We need the research to assess! Perception and behavior change is challenging, as we all know.
Then there is the research on infant feeding and possible positive contributions that grain legumes such as common beans and cowpeas can make towards a healthy gut. It is not just the nutrients in the beans that makes the difference in the human microbiome. With the rise of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease in developing countries, the "healthy food" aspects grain legumes merit more attention and continued research. Cooking methods and breeding efforts to reduce the anti-nutritional aspects while enhancing the nutritional benefits are well worth the research investments.
As an economist I am only now beginning to understand all the contributions that grain legumes can make when incorporated into a diverse production system as well as diverse diet.