Cowpea Productivity Improvement - Guarding Against Insect Pests

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Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp) is considered the most important food grain legume in the dry savannas of tropical Africa, where it is grown on more than 12.5 million hectares of land. It is rich in quality protein and has energy content almost equivalent to that of cereal grains; it is a good source of quality fodder for livestock and provides cash income. Nearly 200 million people in Africa consume the crop. Many biotic and abiotic factors greatly reduce cowpea productivity in the traditional African farming systems. Among these constraints is the pod borer, Maruca vitrata, which perennially damages cowpea pods on farmers’ fields.

Efforts are under way to develop improved varieties of cowpea that can withstand such stresses, and enhance farmers’ grain and fodder production. As a part of this effort, AATF is collaborating in a public/private sector partnership project to promote technological interventions that will optimise cowpea productivity and utilisation in Sub-Saharan Africa.


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