Cover crop seeds in east African country

Dear colleagues,
Can anyone tells me where I can find a supplier of the following cover crop seeds in east Africa or in Africa in general; Hairy Vetch, Siratro, Kenyan white clover, Scarlet Runner Bean, Horse gram, Subclover (Trifolium subternaeum), Berseem clover, Moth bean, Buckwheat (Sweet white lupine), and Sunhemp (crotalaria juncea). Actaully I trying a quicking working Conservation Agriculture system that include cover crop species as a way of increase biomass production to serve as mulch, as way of reducing weeds pressure, and as way of breaking season (they stay in the field during sunny period).

I tried to look for the supplier of above species but could not find any supplier by using google engine.

Thanks folks

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I would love to work with you. What you could consider is a US connection where everything is much easier to find and then someone can bring you them in a suitcase since seed is very light. I have a Rwanda connection I could check with in the US who might know someone coming and you might know someone also. I love your idea and the extent of your testing which is going to be a great contribution to conservation agriculture. I also want to introduce you to my friend Rich Leep who worked at Kellogg Biological Station in Michigan and is a strong Farming God’s Way promoter around the world and he can tell you about his work with Kura Clover which may give you some ideas. I love Roland Bunches work with perennial legume intercrops which are planted in-situ with the crop in the interrow area. We are no where near understanding these system and how to manage them for maximum benefit. Timing of pruning slashing is a big factor, planting them in soil ripped for opening up for good penetration of early rainfall and also storage of water from subsequent rainfall may be advantageous. Using them in conjunction with mulch the first year. Using human urine as fertilizer and storing the nitrogen and carrying it over to the next year in the organic form without the salts, use of charcoal residue from charcoal-burning or what people find too small to burn and throw out to increase growth rate and then more biomass is transferred and the soil improvement is enhanced. Using manure tea to prevent grazing in the dry season and living fences so that you can control the timing of the release of nutrients, particularly nitrogen. You don’t want to have them grazed during the dry season unless it is just before you plant so you can properly time the breakdown and release of nutrients of the above ground portion and the below ground sloughing off release of perennial root systems. My email is and I am actually going to do some research that parallels yours but I think you are at higher altitude with a better climate where we have some terribly hot dry seasons here. I am going to be testing perennial peanuts because although I like Jack Beans I can not make them work well with most vegetables as an intercrop unless planted very late due to their competition for light. We really need something lower growing to go in insitu with vegetables. I have thought about purslane as an intercrop since it is edible and can be fed to animals and in particular it holds a lot of moisture so if you could potentially harvest the moisture reserve in the planting hole for either early planting or relay crop planting if you mixed in dry brown material with it in the Zai hole planting station and kept it from getting too thick so it doesn’t heat up or time it so the heat was dissipated by the time you plant.

Dear Janzen,

Thanks for your support, thanks indeed. I think any connection is good that might help me to get the seeds is a gift to me. I love to meet new friends especially if we are struggling towards the same thing, I cannot wait to meet Rich Leep, and for sure I like what he is doing.
Actually, the scenario here in Rwanda different. We have three seasons in Year; August-February; A season, long rain season, March- June; B season, short rain season while July-August; C season which is dry season and no other crop is in the field unless sweet potatoes mostly and veggies for farmers who have the field in valleys and have access to irrigation water. This scenario complicates things, and the farming systems. Due to small land, no farmer is doing fallow. All farmers are continuously tilling the same plot mostly A and B season with mainly Maize and beans respectively. Our struggle here is to design a working CA system that can be effective very fast. I am thinking of Cover crop as a way of reducing weeds pressure, and increasing biomass production since in Rwanda farmers use most crop residues (mostly maize residues) to mulch in coffee and banana plantation. I will contact you on your email for more information. I am very happy about your idea of testing purslane, it is a short crop, edible and this would be appreciated by Rwandan farmers once it is adapted. I love to include that as well on the list of my species to test.

I will be contacting you via direct email, and thanks for being here to support.


We are promoting what we are learning here in South Sudan where I am an agricultural development missionary and mostly basing our activities on what Roland Bunch has learned over his 30 or more years working with green manure in situ fallow restoration intercropped cover crops. So there are cover crops that are widely known to work with maize as an intercrop such as lab lab, velvet and jack bean. I would like to suggest that you try all three for two reasons. #1 they will themselves help you sort out what grows best as the dominant one will likely take over in most places. #2 Soil types vary and in your droughty poor soils areas the Jack bean will likely dominate but where the soil is very fertile the velvet bean or lab lab may dominate. #3 Some years are different than others so while one year a bean may do well and the next due to droughty conditions another #4 Some beans will respond differently to diseases and insect and nematode buildup, particularly as perennials. The perennial beans have an advantage in that the release of nitrogen and sloughing off of roots when you slash them back causes the breakdown to slow release exactly at the time the crop needs them if you do it at the right time. Annuals will not be as efficient at producing and storing nitrogen in the soil but will break down quickly in the soil in the tropics then leaching or denitrification heavy rains can move a lot of the nitrogen out of the system. You are doing well to help the more marginalized farmers with their fertility improvement on the hills above the valleys.


Which country are you working in? Can you describe your climate, altitude and which crops you are growing? All this will help in responding appropriately to your questions.


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I am in Rwanda (an east African Country), and I have three locations
Location1: Tropical climate, 1600masl, average annual rainfall; 1134 mm
Location2: Tropical climate, 1570masl, average annual rainfall; 934
Location: Tropical climate, 2200masl, average annual rainfall; 1317

I look forward to your recommendation.
Thank you