Integrated crop-livestock is advocated to be very promising in boosting food productivity and soil fertility in Nigeria owing to its numerous synergistic benefits as outlined in this review. Particularly, the system will be very suitable in the savannah regions of the country where livestock production is predominant. Although integrated crop-livestock farming has been in existence in these regions, it is typically cereal based-livestock system resulting in perennial depletion of soil fertility. Introduction of legumes into the system to form cereal-legume-livestock system can function as a key integrating factor through improvement of soil fertility, provision of healthy protein in the human diet and fodder for livestock consumption. This paper therefore, aimed to review the benefits of introduction of legumes like cowpea into the long existing cereal based livestock farming in Nigeria, particularly in the savannah regions of the country in order to boost food security and income of the farmers. The review showed that incorporation of cowpea into the system will in greater measure increase the overall food productivity, ensures sustainability of the soil fertility and substantially improves the income of the farmers in the country.
Key words: Cowpea fodder, soil fertility, food security, nutrient cycling.
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