News / Africa

Malawi Crops and Children Reap Benefits of Legume Mixture

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
Scientists from Michigian State University (MSU), University of Malawi, as well as healthcare workers, and Malawi farmers have all teamed together to find a way of dramatically increasing crop yields in Malawi.

MSU said the research involved crop model simulations, long-term field trials and on-farm experimentation using combinations of legumes, cereals and corn. The scientists said the experiment was a huge success, as crop yields increased with added nutrition, resulting in weight and height gains in children.

Sieglinde Snapp is a cropping systems ecologist at MSU, and one of the researchers on the project. She explained that the nutrient nitrogen is needed to improve the soil and one of the only ways to make nitrogen available is to grow legumes.

"It’s a type of crop that actually improves the soil while also improving the protein levels of the crop so that it also has human nutrition value as well as crop nutrition value.  We introduced some legumes that provide both soil fertility benefits and human nutrition benefits," explained Snapp.

The MSU researcher said collaboration efforts have been going on since 1995 which included over 100 villages in Ekwendi, northern Malawi. The experiment used pigeon pea mixtures with rotating corn, which makes for a very nutrient rich and soil rich crop.

"In the villages where we worked the longest, the under-five’s, the children are growing a bit better, close to international norms and are not as stunted now," she said. "That is a real achievement that we know is due to the collaboration of nurses, working with soil scientists, and farmers all working together to make sure the kids get a healthier diet."

Snapp noted that the project was something the whole family participated in, and that mothers as well as fathers were delighted in the weight gain among their children.

One of the most exciting aspects of the project is that the nutrient rich legumes have seeds that farmers can save and use again, only buying new ones just every couple of years.

"It is a very sustainable approach. It augments any fertilizer subsidies that they get. So if they get a voucher from the government for fertilizers, this legume they have grown themselves can make much better use of whatever other inputs that they can put together," explained Snapp. 

The MSU ecologist said the pigeon pea is a tropical legume and does survive dry spells and changing climates. She said other parts of Africa, such as Tanzania and Mali, are also interested in using legumes to improve soil fertility.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid