Essence of the problem

Legumes have many benefits for smallholder farmers in the mixed crop livestock systems that dominate Africa and Asia. They are widely grown by farmers but often not to their potential. This is partly because advisory services and projects promote legumes in a piecemeal way without a systems understanding of farmer needs and the various benefits legumes offer. Legume CHOICE is a systematic approach to defining the various legume options available and prioritizing them for particular communities.

Essence of the approach/tool

Legume CHOICE consists of a list of legume options including grain legumes, forage legumes and multi-purpose trees. Each option is scored for its contribution to various farm functions (e.g. food, feed, soil fertility) as well as its requirements for resources such as labour, land and inputs. Finally, each legume is scored for suitability to different agro-ecologies. The Legume CHOICE approach involves dialogue with farmers to understand what they want from legumes and what resources they have at their disposal. This dialogue is then distilled into a simple scoring scheme which allows users to prioritize legume options and consider them for further action research.

What to do/read to take action

To use Legume CHOICE you need to download and study the User Guide below. This outlines the methods for working with farmers to prioritize legume options. The User Guide includes sample data sheets to use during the farmer exercises.

You should also download the Legume CHOICE Excel Data Sheet. The User Guide includes instructions on how to fill in the Excel sheet using outputs from the farmer exercises. Filling the Excel sheet automatically generates global scores and rankings for Functional Fit, Context Fit and Agro-ecological Fit. These scores can then be used to think through the most appropriate legumes for the target community.



Legume CHOICE is a prototype research tool developed as part of the BMZ funded Legume CHOICE project (2013 – 2017). It is still a work in progress and we welcome feedback and suggestions for improvement