Monday, January 25, 2010


Cowpeas are eaten by 4 million
people around the world.
The humble cowpea will be the centre of attention at the 5th World Cowpea Research Conference in September 2010. Taking place in Senegal, the meeting will showcase cowpea expertise from around the world and is aiming to raise the profile of the under appreciated bean.

The cowpea is one of the most ancient crops known to man and has been grown in Africa in particular for thousands of years. Nutritionally amazing, the cowpea or as it is more commonly known the black-eyed pea is eaten all over the world but is perhaps most well known for its part in “soul food”, the cuisine of African Americans in the southern United States.

Cowpeas are also highly regarded by farmers, aside from their importance in human diets; because they can also be used for animal feed and as a green manure.

Bacteria, fungi, viruses,
nematodes, parastic plants
and insects all attack cowpeas.

In recent years there has been considerable progress in worldwide cowpea breeding and research. New varieties have been developed with resistance to pests and diseases, produce higher yields with lesser inputs and that are better for grain and fodder.

At the conference scientists will discuss research related issues, such as improved varieties. They will present the state of the art breakthroughs in cowpea research and build upon these technological advances to move the science forward. The ultimate aim is to identify opportunities for cowpea growers to gain higher incomes, greater food security, and lead healthier lives.

The conference is being organised by IITA, the Dry Grain Pulses Collaborative Research Support Programme (Pulse-CRSP), Purdue University, and the Institut Senegalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA). It is taking place in Dakar, Senegal from the 27 September to 1 October.

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