Soy-maize crop rotations in sub-Saharan Africa: A literature review

Liana Acevedo-Siaca, Peter D. Goldsmith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Empirical evidence shows complementarity between maize and soybean as a sustained agricultural system across North and South America as well as Eastern Europe. The potential application to sub-Saharan Africa motivates this literature review. Maize is one of the most important crops on the African subcontinent, accounting for over half of daily caloric intake in some regions. However, continuous cropping of maize has led to extensive degradation of soil and decrease in crop productivity and endangers household food and nutritional security. The cultivation of soybean holds great promise in improving agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Introducing soy into rotation with maize is a method to diversify diets, better nutritional status, reduce abiotic and biotic stresses, and improve soil fertility, while enhancing crop productivity and generating more income for farmers. However, limited access to extension services and other sources of technical support constrains adoption of the more complex rotation cropping system involving a new crop, soybean. Rotating soybean with maize too challenges farmers as there is not a specific prescription that can guide farmers operating across Africa's diverse agroecological environments. Finally, soybean is an input-intensive crop requiring significant investment at planting, which may not allow small holders with limited resources and no access to credit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8833872
JournalInternational Journal of Agronomy
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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