The review paper titled Sustainable intensifications of African agriculture through legume-based cropping and Brachiaria forage systems’ reviews and assesses the benefits of legume-based cropping and Brachiaria forage grass systems. This is done using a set of key indicators to food and nutrition quality, agro-ecological services and socioeconomic benefits.

The indicators for legumes inter cropping systems include: grain yield, soil organic matter contents, food availability, nutritive values of legumes, maize and millet-based foods, proportion of income from crop sale and percentage of farmers aware and/or adopting inter cropping.

In the Brachiaria system: forage biomass, milk yield, availability of milk, milk nutrition contents, income from Brachiaria grass and milk sale, and people practising the Brachiaria technology, were key indicators.

Brachiaria grass field day in Tanzania

Both systems showed positive impacts on the above-mentioned indicators and contributed to a range of sustainable development goals (SDGs) including 1, 2, 3, 12, 13 and 15.

Integrating legume-based cropping system and Brachiaria forage system will intensify African agriculture and contribute to enhanced food and nutrition security and several other SDGs.

Maize beans rotations at Mrs Mopeli’s farm in Monontsha village, QwaQwa, SA

However, adoption and dissemination of legume-based cropping and Brachiaria forage systems is limited and slow in Sub Saharan Africa.

Some elements that accelerate wider adoption of legume-based cropping and Brachiaria forage systems include improved varieties, access to quality seeds, improved agronomic practices, market provision, effective extension and advisory services and policy support to seed productions and distribution systems.

Yet, to fully tap the potentials of legume-based and Brachiaria forage systems sustainably and raise the profile of these climate smart systems, context specific research is necessary.

The paper is available here