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October 5th, 2018 / SciDev.net

“These novel cowpeas will sustain the cowpea industry and provide foundation for further breeding and improvement of the crop.”

Aaron Asare, Ghana’s University of Cape Coast.

Ghanaian smallholders could by the end of this year get access to new, disease-resistant cowpea varieties that mature early and improve yields, says an expert who developed the varieties.

According to researchers, cowpea is a major source of plant protein in the diet of Ghanaians but suffers up to 100 per cent yield losses from stress induced by drought, viruses and Striga gesnerioides also called cowpea witchweed. Examples of recipes in Ghana that include cowpeas are tubaani (steamed cowpea pudding) and waakye (rice and red or brown cowpeas cooked together).

“The three newly developed cowpeas with resistant traits to all known races of Striga in West Africa were first to have been reported,” says Aaron Asare, principal investigator of the project that developed the new varieties. “These novel cowpeas will sustain the cowpea industry and provide foundation for further breeding and improvement of the crop. Read more