The Pigeon Pea Story

The pigeon pea crop is a drought tolerant leguminous shrub that is planted by farmers as a green manure/cover crop and most importantly for home consumption. CBM in partnership with CFGB and the African Christian Church & Schools (ACC&S) runs a food security project in Embu, Kenya.


Figure 3: Pigeon Pea at flowering stage, Embu.

The project has trained 600 farmers and facilitated them with seeds to plant pigeon peas crop for the first time in the area. Farmers like Patrick and his wife narrate how through the pigeon peas harvest and consumption, their protein diet has improved and they feel younger than the previous years.


Figure 4: Patrick and his wife, with their pigeon pea crop behind the maize crop.

Patrick and his wife are in their early 70’s but they actively work hard in their 6 acre farm without outside help.


Figure 5: Tabitha, one of the oldest farmer with her pigeon pea crop. Tabitha says that the pigeon peas has helped her to diversify her diet. Pigeon peas are among the few crops that strive well to maturity even when there is drought.

Some of the Embu project farmers chose to plant the cowpea together with the pigeon pea as a green manure/cover crop. As we visited the farmers, the crops were doing well. The cow peas are also a leguminous crop and like the pigeon pea, it helps with nitrogen fixation in the soil.


Figure 6: A pure stand of cowpeas at Nicosia Njeru’s farm. Farmers consume cowpeas and pigeon peas as a stew, when eaten green, they are rich in protein and vitamins.

Why emphasize so much on the drought tolerant leguminous crops in Embu?

Itabua sub location, the project area in Embu, Kenya is a dry land area with erratic rainfall patterns and frequent drought situation. The farmers practice subsistent farming but many times they have received food aid in the past. The Embu food security project has endeavored to reverse these trend in the current 3 year project. We thank God for the friends who have partnered with us to assist the farmers.

To our partners, I am grateful for your continuous prayers and financial support. May God bless you! May He fulfill the desires of your heart in Jesus name!

Bwana Awabariki!!!!

About Ruth Munyao

Ruth serves with CBM as Senior Food Security Specialist in Africa, with specific reference to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Learn more about Ruth