Increasing Mucuna's Potential as a Food and Feed Crop.

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Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Mucuna has been promoted to smallholder tropical farmers in Africa, Mesoamerica, and South Asia as the most promising of the current green manure/cover crops due to its positive impact on main crop yield and soil properties, and its effective control of weeds. These benefits, although often visible even from the second year of Mucuna cultivation, have not encouraged resource-poor smallholder farmers to invest their efforts and land in the crop because they need additional benefits from first year onwards. Such benefits can be realized if Mucuna were to find greater uses as a food and/or feed. Its potential as a feed crop has been proven on a large scale in the first half of the 20th century when it was successfully used for feed and soil improvement in large areas of the southern United States and in other, tropical locations. It has also played a role as a minor food crop in numerous Asian and African countries. These experiences provide a useful knowledge base and lend inspiration to those involved in today's efforts.