In this PhD research I identify options for sustainable intensification of African smallholder farming through legumes. In Nigeria, soybean yielded much more grain with the combined application of rhizobium inoculants and phosphorus fertilizer. As rhizobium inoculation was so cheap, the extra grain produced effectively paid for the more costly phosphorus fertilizer. In Uganda, together with farmers and other stakeholders we co-designed a ‘basket of options’ for climbing beans. Yield was only one of the criteria farmers used in their evaluations, so we included options for farmers with, for example, financial or labour constraints. Although we could draw some general conclusions on the suitability of technologies for different types of farmers, it proved difficult to predict the benefits and use of technologies from one year to the next. I therefore considered a ‘basket of options’ from which farmers can choose more useful than narrowly specified technologies for pre-defined farm types. Incorporation of farmers’ evaluations and their feedback on the testing of technologies in their own fields improve the relevance of technologies – a lesson that could be applied in other projects.
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