New collaboration that works to strengthen legume value chains throughout Africa announces call for concept notes

Written by:
Janet Fierro, Communications Manager at Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Legume Systems Research; Bijou Attey, Communications Officer at International Centre for Evaluation and Development

On the African continent, legumes are an important component of sustainable farming systems and can play a critical role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by addressing factors such as food waste and loss, climate resilience, and economic empowerment. However, various parts of the legume value chain are challenged by several policy, regulatory, institutional, and environmental factors. These challenges have direct and indirect impacts on diverse legume value chain stakeholders, especially small-scale farmers whose livelihoods are tied to the success of legume production and distribution. The mitigation and eventual resolution of these factors for the benefit of the legume value chain and all stakeholders involved is only possible with awareness and subsequent action.

African research think tank, the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED) and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Legume Systems Research have teamed up to address these value chain challenges in 15 countries across East, West and Southern Africa. The duo recently invited legume value chain actors from across the African continent to attend Regional Stakeholder Convenings (RSCs), with the goal of identifying system gaps and research priorities to inform funding opportunities.

The goal of RSCs was to identify systems gaps and research priorities to inform funding opportunities for research projects on the gaps in the legume value chain within each region.

“This collaboration will [achieve several goals, including] providing more financial and technical support to African agricultural research institutions to conduct more impactful research on legumes based on sound evidence. It will also strengthen collaborations between the private and public sectors for more functional seeds systems in each African country,” said Symphorien Agbahoungba, ICED Program Officer and West Africa Legume Regional Hub Coordinator.

“ICED’s experience across the African agricultural sector makes them a key partner for the Legume Systems Innovation Lab,” shares Lab Director Dr. Barry Pittendrigh. “As we embark on new investments across the continent, the RSC concept of engaging diverse players from across the legume value chain will ensure we address the most urgent gaps in the system. ICED’s role in management of these RSCs is critical.”

Based on insights gained through the initial RSC workshops, the Legume Systems Innovation Lab has recently issued a call for concept notes for collaborative research and capacity building projects on legume systems with the potential to generate mutual benefits for both the developing countries and U.S. agriculture. The focal crops of the Legume Systems Innovation lab are common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata W.).

Interested researchers can view the call for concept notes details at Deadline to submit concept notes in June 17, 2024.

CEO and president of ICED, Dr. David Ameyaw, founded the research think tank with the aim of supporting African institutions, governments, and communities in the development of the various African nations through African-led research and evidence-based development activities. “Where the whole world’s attention is on Africa, there is no opportunity for Africa to fail on development policies,” said Dr. Ameyaw. “The whole world’s attention is drawn to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Africa Agenda 2063; there is a need for African development policies supported by sound evidence.”

Dr. Ameyaw’s vision has yielded support from and collaborations between local and international organizations including Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Science for Africa Foundation, and two Feed the Future Innovation Labs (Horticulture Innovation Lab and Market, Risks, & Resilience Innovation Lab) plus the newly formed collaboration with the Legume Systems Innovation Lab. For more information on ICED visit

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab fosters dynamic, profitable, and environmentally sustainable approaches that contribute to resilience, productivity, and better nutrition and economic opportunities in legume systems across Africa and Central America. The Legume Systems Innovation Lab is based at Michigan State University. For more information visit

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab is funded through Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative. Feed the Future is managed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and funded with the generous support of the U.S. people.