Cultivated crops from the family Fabaceae (soybean, alfalfa, clover, peas, vetch, beans, broad bean, lupine, lentil, grass pea) are the main source of plant proteins, oils and cellulose fibers for human and farm animals.

Areas used for legumes cultivation in Serbia amount to 400-450 thousand hectares. The largest areas are under soybean (202,000 ha), alfalfa (112,000 ha), clover (70,000 ha), peas (30,000 ha), beans (13,000 ha) and vetch (5,000 ha). These areas produce 630,000 tons of crude protein annually.

The Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops, as the National Institute of the Republic of Serbia, has a particular social responsibility for the development of science, agriculture and environmental protection. With the establishment of the Center of Excellence for Legumes, the Republic of Serbia has received the first competent center that is sufficiently qualified to conduct complex research in the field of biotechnical sciences in accordance with the highest world standards. The quality of previous research on legumes and the impact of the achieved results have positioned the researchers of the Institute at the very top of domestic science and significantly above the European average in the field of biotechnical sciences. The Institute is one of the main founders of the International Legume Society (ILS) and the organizer of the first international conference called A Legume Odyssey held in Novi Sad in 2013.

The main activities of the Center are: collection, study, use and conservation of legumes genetic resources; study of the legumes genome by modern methods of quantitative and molecular genetics; creating new and improving existing breeding methods; developing superior varieties with higher yield potential, better quality, more tolerant to different stress conditions; improvement of technology for growing and using legumes; improving the production and processing of legume seeds; education and knowledge transfer to end users.

Through the work of the Institute so far, Serbia has become a regional center for legume seed production. Legume seeds are exported to 24 countries on three continents. The activities of the Center are aimed at further development of science in the field of legume seed production.

That the science of legumes in Serbia is highly positioned and recognized as an advanced research center is shown by numerous recognitions of prestigious international universities, scientific institutes and other relevant institutions. This is best evidenced by the fact that the Institute, together with the Center of Excellence for Legumes will organize and host two world conferences – The World Soybean Research Conference 11, which will be held in the period September 5-10, 2021, and the International Herbage Seed Group Conference 11, to be held June 6-13, 2021.

The Center of Excellence for Legumes has an important role in the popularization of legumes, but also in the promotion of science and scientific achievements that will position the Institute and the Republic of Serbia as a European leader in research on legumes.