Improved cowpea varieties hit Nigeria's savanna region

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Ibadan, Nigeria
April 16, 2010

Nigeria has released two new cowpea varieties to raise production and improve farmers’ incomes.

The varieties are coming just when the country’s researchers are finalizing their plans to attend the Fifth World Cowpea Research Conference to be held from 27 September to 1 October 2010 in Dakar, Senegal, to discuss the state of the art in cowpea research.

The varieties—IT89KD-288 and IT89KD-391—were developed by scientists working at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, in collaboration with the Institute for Agricultural Research of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; the University of Maiduguri, Borno; and the Agricultural Development Programs of Borno, Kaduna, Kano, and Katsina States.

Both varieties have proven superiority over the current improved lines being cultivated and aim to overcome the challenges faced by cowpea farmers in the country.

For instance, IT89KD-288 (now SAMPEA-11) is a dual-purpose cowpea variety with large white seeds and a rough seed coat. It has combined resistance to major diseases including septoria leaf spot, scab, and bacterial blight, as well as to nematodes, and tolerance to Nigeria’s strain of Striga gesnerioides (a parasitic weed that severely lowers yield).

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