Newswise — Sept. 25, 2017—Protein malnutrition can be caused by low soil fertility, which in turn reduces yields. Food security hinges on this issue.

The “Building Institutional Capacity in Tropical Legumes” symposium planned at the Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL, will address this important topic. The symposium will be held Monday, October 23, 2017, at 9:00 AM. The meeting is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

“Building strength in legume-based agricultural systems can help address both of these dire problems,” says Kerry Clark, a researcher at the University of Missouri. Clark says building soil fertility will provide smallholder farmers “economic and nutritional alternatives to current staple crops. But a lot of work needs to be done in the countries where the legumes are grown, including public education, training legumes breeders and agronomists, and improving yields so that legumes can compete as viable crops in the tropics.”

Speakers include Mark Westgate, Iowa State University. He will review the work done by Iowa State’s Sustainable Rural Livelihoods program in Uganda. For the past twelve years, the Center has worked with grade school through college level students to increase awareness of tropical legumes and their nutrition, opportunities for entrepreneurship, and plant breeding programs.

Sieglinde Snapp, Michigan State University, will cover the work that Michigan has done with Malawi extension university faculty and students, and farmers. Stephen Boahen will review techniques that the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Mozambique, is using to improve access to quality soybean seeds, use of inputs (fertilizer, water), and best practices to improve yield. Kerry Clark will present work the Soybean Innovation Lab is doing to improve research and breeding in tropically-adapted soybean.

For more information about the 2017 meeting, visit Media are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Oct. 10, 2017 is required. Visit for registration information. For information about the “Building Institutional Capacity in Tropical Legumes” symposium, visit

To speak with one of the scientists, contact Susan V. Fisk, 608-273-8091, [email protected] to arrange an interview.