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International Journal of Sustainable Agricultural Research

December 2019, Volume 6, 4, pp 213-223

Short-Term Benefits of Grain Legume Fallow Systems on Soil Fertility and Farmers Livelihood in the Humid Forest Zone of Cameroon

Lawrence Tatanah Nanganoa


Jetro Nkengafac Njukeng


Christopher Ngosong


Sone Kone Edigar Atache


Godwin Sendze Yinda


Jeremiah Ndande Ebonlo


Juliana Namein Ngong


Francis Ajebesone Ngome

Lawrence Tatanah Nanganoa 1 ,

Jetro Nkengafac Njukeng 1 

Christopher Ngosong 3 Sone Kone Edigar Atache 3 Godwin Sendze Yinda 3 Jeremiah Ndande Ebonlo 3 Juliana Namein Ngong 7
Francis Ajebesone Ngome 8

  1. Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), Ekona, Cameroon. 1

  2. Department of Agronomic and Applied Molecular Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, University of Buea, Cameroon. 3

  3. Department of Crop Production Technology, College of Technology, University of Bamenda, Cameroon. 7

  4. Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), Yaounde, Cameroon. 8

Pages: 213-223

DOI: 10.18488/journal.70.2019.64.213.223

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Article History:

Received: 12 August, 2019
Revised: 16 September, 2019
Accepted: 18 October, 2019
Published: 22 November, 2019


Soil fertility management of smallholder farms in the humid tropics is a major issue as a result of inherently low fertility with nitrogen being the most limiting plant nutrient. Use of grain legume fallows could improve soil quality through nitrogen fixation and ensure food and nutritional security in developing countries. This field trial was laid out in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) to evaluate the short-term benefits of grain legume fallows (common bean, groundnut, cowpea, and soybean) on soil fertility improvement and income generation in relation to a natural weed fallow system. The results showed that total soil nitrogen content ranged from 0.19–0.24%, and differed (P < 0.001) significantly with the highest in common bean plots as compared to the others. The soil organic carbon (SOC) content was highest in cowpea plots (3.36 %) and lowest in the natural weed fallow (2.77 %). However, the SOC were not significantly different among the fallow systems but were higher than the SOC of the soil before sowing (2.41 %). Grain yield ranged from 1.0–1.9 t/ha and differed (P < 0.001) significantly. The highest profitability of integrating grain legumes in farming systems was recorded in the groundnut fallow, followed by soybean, and bean. Cowpea generated a negative return, while the natural fallow system had no effect. Integrating grain legumes fallow into agricultural systems in the humid tropics enhance the value of the fallow lands and may serve as viable short-term economic incentives for smallholder farmers.
Contribution/ Originality
This study contributes to the existing literature that reports the benefits of grain legumes on soil fertility improvement and also showed that the integration of grain legume fallows into agricultural systems in the humid tropics generate income for smallholder farmers and could serve as motivation for their adoption.


Fallow systems, Grain legumes, Nitrogen, Organic carbon, Profitability, Smallholder farmers.



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The study was supported by the Agriculture Investment and Market Development Project (PIDMA), Cameroon.

Competing Interests:

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


All authors contributed significantly to this study and are grateful to the Soil, Plant and Water Analysis Laboratory, Ekona Regional Centre, Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD) for providing the analytical facility.

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