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Phosphorus Efficiency of Legumes - an Emerging Opportunity for Food Security

Low soil P availability is a primary constraint to crop growth throughout the developing world. With the support of the CCRP and other donors, genotypes of soybean and common bean have been developed with superior yield in low P soils. Because of the nutritional, ecological, and economic value of legumes, these genotypes represent an excellent opportunity to improve the health and well-being of rural communities. Phosphorus-efficient legumes may be especially useful in the low fertility soils of South China and Mozambique. However, in order to realize the potential of this technology, we need to

  1. continue the soybean breeding program in China and to begin a bean breeding program in Mozambique with specific focus on P efficiency,
  2. we need a better understanding of how traits conferring P efficiency in legumes affect crop responses to other environmental factors,
  3. we need to know how P efficient legumes will affect agroecosystem productivity and sustainability,
  4. we need to know how P efficient legumes affect the physical and economic well being of rural communities, and
  5. we need to train African scientists in plant nutrition so that this effort can be sustained.

This project will directly address these needs and opportunities.