“Legumes nourish people and the land as well as enhancing self-reliance and the economy. They enrich and protect the soil from erosion and can easily be intercropped with small grains. Some legumes are well-adapted to harsh climate conditions. They provide high nutritional value for both humans and livestock and can be sold at relatively good prices. While the productivity of legumes is generally lower than that of maize, their nutrient density is superior. In addition, small scale farmers, especially women, control the production and exchange of the seed of most legumes, making them an asset in the struggle for seed and food sovereignty.”

This was the conclusion of the participants at the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Dialogue Meeting held prior to the 2016 Food and Seed Festival.

In celebration of 2016 as the UN Year of Pulses, the Zimbabwe Traditional and Organic Food Forum has produced a booklet entitled A Tribute to Zimbabwe’s Legumes.  This wonderfully illustrated, user-friendly guide covers the health and nutritional benefits of Zimbabwe’s favourite legumes and pulses; their contribution to food security, their benefits to agriculture and the environment. Inside the booklet you will find a considerable amount of information presented in a reader-friendly way.

Legume fun facts

  • Do you know the difference between a legume and a pulse?
  • Did you know that eating pulses helps reduce blood pressure, maintains blood glucose levels and reduced unhealthy substances including cholesterol in the blood?
  • Did you know that growing legumes can contribute several hundred kilograms of nitrogen per acre per year?
  • The legume booklet will tell you this and more.

Why are legumes so unpopular?

Although highly nutritious, legumes are increasingly neglected as a food and as a crop. Many complain that they taste bland, take a long time to cook and cause bloating and gas! The legume booklet has a section on better ways to cook and eat legumes and includes some delicious recipes.

The booklet is selling at only $3 so get yours before stocks run out! They can (for now) be bought at the BIZ office (20 Garlands Ride in Mount Pleasant) and from the BIZ stall at Maasdorp market (Wednesday) and Amanzi market (Friday).

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Anna Brazier
Anna Brazier is the editor of Naturally Zimbabwean. She was born in Zambia but has lived most of her life in Zimbabwe. She has a BSc in Ecology and an MSc in Sustainable Development and works as a consultant promoting sustainable agriculture, nutrition, traditional foods and community resilience in Africa and beyond. She lives in Harare with her husband and three children.