MSc Thesis/research practice opportunity: Crop allocation practices in maize-legumes cropping systems of the Southern Highlands of Tanzania

March 21, 2024


The benefits of crop rotation are widely acknowledged in the agronomic literature. In maize-dominated smallholder farming systems in Africa, crop rotations with grain legumes are seen as highly beneficial as they: (1) can contribute to more diverse and nutritious diets; (2) are an increasingly important source of cash in many areas, and; (3) can improve field and farm-level productivity as they add nutrient to what are generally poorly fertilized soils.

Efforts to investigate legume integration at farm-level have been modest in comparison to the efforts spent on the introduction and development of legume technologies at field-level. The focus of legume agronomy has for long been on intensifying production with seed and input technologies to make legume more attractive to farmers, expecting an uptake in the developed technologies and an increase in legumes area as a consequence (Vanlauwe et al., 2019). Interventions have thus often been on based experimentally-derived agronomic benefits, theoretical knowledge, and ex-ante modelling analyses, rather than actual farmer practices. . Long term surveys reporting farmers’ rotations are not available and extension services do not have the capacity to systematically register historical farmer’s crop allocation, making it difficult to inform us on how legumes are currently integrated at farm-level. As a result, actual practices for legume management often disconnect with recommendations based on research work (Nord et al., 2021).

By employing a combination of digital questionnaire surveys, GPS mapping, and in-depth interviews, the study aims to better understand cropping system planning and management of smallholder farmers and unravelling the multifaceted factors influencing farmers' decisions regarding legumes cultivation in maize dominant farming systems.

Type of work

Fieldwork: Farm surveys, farm mapping, and interviews with farmers.


Background in (tropical) farming systems studies, agronomy, or related fields.

PPS course required for an MSc Thesis.


Songwe Region (Tanzania) and Plant Production Systems department (Radix Nova - Wageningen)


Starting period in Autumn 2024 (6 months)