“Cowpea is a food and animal feed crop grown in the semi-arid tropics particularly the savannahs of West Africa but also other parts of Africa, Asia and the Americas. It originated in Southern Africa and the cultivated form was domesticated in West Africa.
“While it is a very important crop in West Africa and is for used for food and livestock, it grows, well particularly in the “hungry season” (June to October) in the region, when other crops are not producing.
“What we do at the IITA Genebank is to characterise all the different types using both traditional and modern molecular techniques and make them available to breeders who develop high yielding varieties that are early or medium maturing and have consumerpreferred traits such as large seeds, seed coat texture and colour. A number of the varieties have resistance to some of the major diseases, pests, nematodes and parasitic weeds.” Read more