Green manure crops are crops that are grown to be turned under to increase soil fertility. Leguminous green manure crops ( i.e., those which can make nitrogen fertilizers from atmospheric nitrogen) can offer small-scale farmers a tremendous number of advantages.

In general GMCCs:

  • provide large quantities of nitrogen for the soil.
  • add many tons of organic matter to the soil, thereby improving topsoil depth, water-holding capacity, nutrient content, friability, and texture of the soil.
  • present no transportation problems, in contrast to compost and chemical fertilizers.
  • require no capital outlay after the initial purchase of a handful of seed. Because they require no chemical inputs, dependency on outside sources of fertilizer, nutrients, and pesticides is reduced.
  • can shade the soil up to eleven months out of the year, a factor extremely important in tropical climates for preservation of soil moisture and organic matter.
  • cover they provide for the soil protects it from wind and water erosion.
  • provide generous amounts of high protein fodder for animals, which can be especially valuable if it is available during the last months of the dry season.
  • sometimes provide human food, including various kinds of edible beans, peas, and pods.
  • can provide income, by selling firewood, food or feed.
  • often provide an incentive for people to abandon harmful traditional practices, such as burning crop residues or letting animals loose in the dry season to devour everything in sight.
  • when intercropped with basic grains, can control weeds, thereby eliminating costly weeding operations


  1. Les EVCC sont des cultures à croissance rapide qui couvrent et protègent le sol, et sont laissées comme paillage ou enfouies pour enrichir le sol. Les légumineuses sont privilégiées pour leur capacité à fixer l’azote. Elles peuvent être semées, mais certaines forment des racines au niveau des...
  2. This green manure cover crop selection tool is an interactive way to discover which varieties are appropriate for your unique situation. By changing the conditions and requirements a prioritized list of potentially appropriate crops is generated. Each of these plants can be sourced through the...
  3. Session:The major factor in the increase in droughts across Africa has been caused mostly by the gradual death of fallowing, and the resulting decrease in rainwater infiltration from about 60% down to 20% in most areas. GM/CCs are the only feasible way to save Africa from the rapidly increasing...
  4. Ressource principale
    21/05/2019 Les petits exploitants à travers le monde font face à certaines des conditions de production les plus rudes du monde entier, pourtant ils produisent la grande partie de la nourriture mondiale. Les sols de ces régions manquent souvent de capacités de rétention d’éléments nutritifs et d’eau, en...
  5. Ressource principale
    14/11/2012 Qu’est-ce que la dégradation des terres? Dans le bulletin OMM-No. 989, l’Organisation météorologique mondiale a reproduit la longue définition de l’UNCCD (Convention des Nations Unies sur la lutte contre la désertification). Les éléments les plus pertinents de cette définition pour le réseau de...
  6. Ressource principale
    28/09/2016 Les agriculteurs dans de nombreuses régions du monde, en raison de la croissance de la population humaine, n’ont guère d’autre choix que de cultiver leurs terres en permanence, ne disposant pas suffisamment de ressources pour remplacer les éléments nutritifs retirés par chaque culture successive....
  7. 26/05/2017 L’intégration de légumineuses dans les systèmes agricoles permet aux petits agriculteurs qui disposent de peu de ressources d’améliorer la santé et la résilience à long terme de leurs sols. Le succès ou l’échec de cette activité dépend dans une large mesure de la sélection de légumineuses...
  8. This group pageexists so that individuals involved in GMCCaround the world can connect. We encourage you to share the challenges you face in your GMCCendeavors, discuss lessons and techniques learned through your experiences, and share your story!
  9. 01/10/2005 One of the most important things a farmer can do for his farm is to prevent soil erosion. One way to do so is by keeping soil covered, especially during the rainy season. Vegetative cover and high levels of soil organic matter are key. Below is a brief description of several vegetative or...
  10. 30/03/2017 Forage peanut is a perennial herb native to Brazil that is found throughout South America and has many uses.
  11. 20/04/2014 EDN 122 highlighted multi-purpose cowpea varieties with spreading vines that cover the soil. Below is an ECHO research update from South Africa relating our experience so far with a spreading cowpea variety intercropped with maize grown in a Foundations for Farming (FFF) system. “Living carpet”...
  12. 30/04/2015 Récemment, nous avons appris à travers la correspondance entre plusieurs membres du réseau, sur le thème de l’agriculture de conservation (AC) dans les zones de fortes pluies. L’information semblait potentiellement utile pour d’autres dans le réseau d’ECHO, donc nous la partageons ici.
  13. 08/04/2016 Nous avons récemment reçu un rapport de Roland Bunch concernant ses efforts à promouvoir les engrais verts et les cultures de couverture en Afrique.
  14. 20/01/2005 Cover cropping is Fundamental #7. It is the technique of growing plants that protect the soil to conserve topsoil and moisture. It can be considered a living mulch. Under sowing legumes below existing crops and other companion plants will work well. You get all the advantages of mulching; soil...
  15. 20/01/2005 Green fertilizer is Fundamental #5. It feeds the next crop efficiently. As you plow crop residue into the soil it will eventually become humus and fertilizer for following crops. It is a form of composting, in which materials do not need to be transported to a mixing/composting site. You could...
  16. 20/01/2005 Proper crop rotation is Fundamental #1. It will beat the disease and pest cycle while promoting nutrient cycling. This is a forgotten age-old method to assure the health of future crops. It is of the utmost importance to minimize nutrient loss for long-range success. When the same plant is...
  17. 20/04/2004 Rice bean (Vigna umbellata) is one of the top five most commonly grown green manure/cover crops in the world.
  18. 27/10/2014 The following photos were all taken in the fields or homes of practicing farmers in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Haiti, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Benin, Cameroon, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia
  19. 19/01/2017 Dr. Motispresented an overview of the use of tropical legumes as green manure/cover crops. Drawing on findings from ECHO research, this talk will cover 1) benefits of legumes, 2) basic characteristics and growth requirements of some commonly grown legumes, and 3) ways to integrate these into...
  20. 08/02/2017 Cover crops play a key role in sustainable agriculture by providing sustainable sources of nutrients as well as protective soil cover to minimize erosion and reduce moisture stresses. Examples of successful cover cropping systems in East Africa will be illustrated as well as constraints and...
  21. 07/02/2017 Pigeon pea is an important green manure/cover crop with multiple agronomic and market impacts for small farmers, and fits ideally in a conservation agriculture system. Kilimo Markets integrates value chains through enhancing production, inputs supply chains especially seed for which it is...
  22. 08/02/2017 Dolichos lablab is an under estimated crop which recently is finding its niche Presenter :Wilfred L Mariki is a retired Principal Agricultural Research Officer, from Selian Agricultural Research Institute who pioneered a country program to introduce CA in Tanzania 1999 – 2011, under FAO-UN. He...
  23. 20/01/2002 The conventional view of the relationship between soil nutrients and crop productivity in the tropics is leading to both damaging agricultural policies and inefficient and damaging farm-level practices. There is no need to use the huge quantities of chemical fertilizers that are so often...
  24. 01/07/2011 This article is from ECHO Asia Note #10 Introduction During the late rainy season, the permanent hill fields that surround a cluster of hilltribe villages in the Chiang Dao district of northern Thailand radiate various hues of green. These verdant fields, belonging to ethnic Lisu, Lahu, Akha,...
  25. 20/04/2013 The article by Dov Pasternak about lablab (in this issue) reminded me of material in ECHO’s files from many years ago. Reimar von Schaaffhausen, working in São Paulo, Brazil, sent articles and letters over the years about the valuable role that lablab (and pigeon pea [Cajanus cajan]) have played...
  26. 07/02/2017 Pigeon pea is an important green manure/cover crop with multiple agronomic and market impacts for small farmers, and fits ideally in a conservation agriculture system. Presenter : Said Silim has recently retired from a distinguished career in international development from ICRISAT, and helped to...
  27. This group page exists so that individuals involved in GMCC around the world can connect. We encourage you to share the challenges you face in your GMCC endeavors, discuss lessons and techniques learned through your experiences, and share your story!
  28. AccessAgriculture Training Video Dans les savanes côtières de l'Afrique occidentale, les agriculteurs expliquent comment le mucuna leur aidait à régénérer leurs sols, et à supprimer des mauvaises herbes nuisibles comme le Striga et l'Impérata. Ils montrent comment cultiver le mucuna au profit de...
  29. The Tropical Forages websiteis a collaborative effort between CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries (Qld), Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The website is designed to enable...
  30. Abstract,Agronomía Mesoamericana, 2017 The objective of this study was to assess the knowledge on cover crops and native vegetation mulches and the willingness to implement them by papaya, oil palm, and banana producers in Costa Rica. An evaluation instrument with twenty eight questions to be...
  31. 23/05/2017 This presentation on Gree Manure Cover Cropsseeks to answer the question: How do we achieve all of these objectives (profitability, practically, resiliency, reduced reliance on fossil-fuels, sustainability) when land is limited/degraded, inputs are unavailable or unattainable, labor is scarce,...
  32. Ce document fait la distinction entre les cultures de couverture «vedettes» (qui sont associées à une culture principale telle que le maïs) et les cultures de couverture «secondaires» (qui ne sont pas en concurrence avec la culture principale en raison de leur cycle de vie court et qui peuvent...
  33. Session :Green manure/cover crops are the only feasible way for smallholder farmers to significantly increase the organic matter content of their basic grain fields (that is, anything over 0.5 ha) at a reasonable cost. We can now say that we know of good species and systems that will work in...
  34. 19/11/2019 Session :Green manure/cover crops are the only feasible way for smallholder farmers to significantly increase the organic matter content of their basic grain fields (that is, anything over 0.5 ha) at a reasonable cost. We can now say that we know of good species and systems that will work in...
  35. Ed : While not dealing specifically with tropical crops, some of the management situations discussed can be adapted for consideration in other contexts. Farmers around the country (US) are planting cover crops on millions of acres to protect and improve the soil, and the more that farmers use...
  36. Ressource principale
    20/01/2013 Environ 98% de la production agricole dans les régions soudano-sahéliennes d’Afrique occidentale et centrale est basée sur les cultures pluviales. Avec une pluviométrie annuelle moyenne de 300 à 800 mm/an, le nombre de cultures de base est très limité. On distingue deux céréales: le mil...
  37. Session:By using green manure/cover crops, rural families can make sure theyhave enough calories, with or without droughts. By growing ediblegm/ccs (nearly all of which are leguminous, they can get enough proteins.By drying and storing the leaves of lablab beans or cowpeas, they can add to their...
  38. 26/11/2019 Session:By using green manure/cover crops, rural families can make sure theyhave enough calories, with or without droughts. By growing ediblegm/ccs (nearly all of which are leguminous, they can get enough proteins.By drying and storing the leaves of lablab beans or cowpeas, they can add to their...
  39. 26/11/2019 Session: Permanent ground cover is one of the fundamental principles of conservation agriculture. This coverage can be achieved by keeping crop residues on the ground, but if the time between harvest and installation of the next crop is large, it may be necessary to install other cover plants...
  40. 19/01/1984 Leucaena leucocephala ("koa haole"-Hawaii; ipil ipil - Phillipines) is a fast-growing, leguminous tree that can be used for reforestation, for firewood, and as a forage crop that can equal alfalfa in nutritional value. There are three basic types of leucaena trees: Hawaiian, Salvador, and Peru....