4 Feb, 2019

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Dr. Mhango: The goal of the project is to contribute to food and nutritional security of smallholder farmers.
The Mc Knight Foundation Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP) has approved a research grant of $450,000.00 for a project titled “Farmer Research Networks and Multi-Environmental Trials for soil health, productivity of maize-legume farming systems and livelihoods”.

The project is a three years collaborative research project led by Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) with partners from the University of Greenwich, Natural Resources institute of the United Kingdom; and three District Agricultural Offices in Malawi (Mzimba North, Kasungu and Ntcheu).

The Principal Investigator of the project is Dr Wezi Mhango from Crop and Soil Sciences Department, and other investigators from LUANAR are Prof George Kanyama-Phiri, Dr Daimon Kambewa and Mr Frank Tchuwa.

The goal of the project is to contribute to food and nutritional security of smallholder farmers in the impact areas. The Principal Investigator of the project, Dr Wezi Mhango, said this will be achieved through the enhanced capacity of farmers to innovate, adapt and adopt maize-legume technologies that contribute to resilient farming systems, soil health and crop productivity in a sustainable manner.

The legume options include doubled-up legume technology which means intercropping two legumes with complementary growth habits as a strategy for sustainable intensification of the maize based systems.

The project will use Agro-Ecological Intensification (AEI) principles, in the design and implementation of the Farmer Research Networks (FRNs) and multi-environmental trials (METs), to generate context-specific soil health innovations for enhancing productivity and resilience of farming systems. The project is also set to contribute to capacity building of postgraduate students.

The project builds on experiences and lessons from previous phases of Legume Best Bets Project, led by Prof. George Kanyama-Phiri, that focused on improving soil health and family nutrition through the integration of doubled-up legumes in farming systems (2006-2010), maize-legume options in a changing world (2010-2014), and Up-scaling maize-legume technologies through METs and FRNs (2014-2018).