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Bambara groundnut: an exemplar underutilised legume for resilience under climate change

Mayes, Sean, Ho, Wai Kuan, Chai, Hui Hui, Gao, Xiuqing, Kundy, Aloyce C., Mateva, Kumbirai I., Zahrulakmal, Muhammad, Hahiree, Mohd Khairul Izwan Mohd, Kendabie, Presidor, Licea, Luis C. S., Massawe, Festo, Mabhaudhi, Tafadzwanashe, Modi, Albert T., Berchie, Joseph N., Amoah, Stephen, Faloye, Ben, Abberton, Michael, Olaniyi, Oyatomi, Azam-Ali, Sayed N.
Planta 2019 v.250 no.3 pp. 803-820
Vigna subterranea, breeding programs, climate change, crops, drought tolerance, filling period, food availability, legumes, low input agriculture, markets, nitrogen fixation, processing technology, risk
MAIN CONCLUSION: Bambara groundnut has the potential to be used to contribute more the climate change ready agriculture. The requirement for nitrogen fixing, stress tolerant legumes is clear, particularly in low input agriculture. However, ensuring that existing negative traits are tackled and demand is stimulated through the development of markets and products still represents a challenge to making greater use of this legume. World agriculture is currently based on very limited numbers of crops, representing a significant risk to food supplies, particularly in the face of climate change which is expected to increase the frequency of extreme events. Minor and underutilised crops can help to develop a more resilient and nutritionally dense future agriculture. Bambara groundnut [Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.[, as a drought resistant, nitrogen-fixing, legume has a role to play. However, as with most underutilised crops, there are significant gaps in knowledge and also negative traits such as ‘hard-to-cook’ and ‘photoperiod sensitivity to pod filling’ associated with the crop which future breeding programmes and processing methods need to tackle, to allow it to make a significant contribution to the well-being of future generations. The current review assesses these factors and also considers what are the next steps towards realising the potential of this crop.