Opportunities for the introduction of pigeon peas into smallholder farming systems in Zimbabwe.
Smallholder agriculture in Zimbabwe is characterised by maize monoculture. Several other crops, especially legumes, have received little attention despite their agronomic potential and nutritional value. The pigeon pea is a well-known multipurpose crop in subsistence agriculture, yet none of its useful attributes have been exploited in Zimbabwe. In this study, the feasibility of intervening with pigeon peas in smallholder farming systems was investigated in Mukarakate area of Murehwa Communal Lands and revealed a limited use of legumes in both human nutrition and soil fertility management. The lack of a well co-ordinated agenda to promote legume production, and a poor agronomic performance by the currently grown legumes because of the low fertility and pH of the soils were identified as some of the main constraints. Limitations imposed by the biophysical and economic environments in agricultural production at local level were also identified. The potential place of pigeon peas as perceived by farmers is discussed in the context of on-going pigeon pea experiments designed to investigate the potential contribution of this crop to soil fertility.
Transactions of the Zimbabwe Scientific Association Volume 72 (Supplement) 1998, pp. 60-65