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Focus on Cowpea

Each month we will be drawing members’ attention to some particularly interesting chapters from the Burleigh Dodds academic publishing company’s agricultural science database, which is available free to members until the end of June 2022.

For February, why not take a look at these useful insights into cowpea – an important legume crop affected by viruses?

Just login and visit our Crops Collection member page to access the full collection, then search for the hand-selected chapters below.

Improving cultivation of cowpea in West Africa


Kamara, Dr Alpha Y.; Omoigui, Lucky O.; Kamai, Nkeki; Ewansiha, Sylvester U.; Ajeigbe, Hakeem A.

Cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] is a legume crop of vital importance to the livelihoods of millions of people in West and Central Africa, providing a nutritious grain and an inexpensive source of protein for both rural poor and urban consumers. This chapter examines what constitutes an optimal cowpea plant population and explains plant configuration in intercropping systems in West Africa. The chapter explores how planting dates can be manipulated to improve cowpea productivity, and how nutrient management can be used to increase cowpea yields. Finally, the chapter examines the application of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in cowpea production and looks ahead to future trends in this area.

Insect pests and integrated pest management techniques in grain legume cultivation

Agunbiade, Tolulope A.; Sun, Weilin; Coates, Brad S.; Traore, Fousséni; Ojo, James A.; Lutomia, Anne N.; Bello-Bravo, Julia; Miresmailli, Saber; Huesing, Joseph E.; Agyekum, Michael; Tamò, Dr Manuele; Pittendrigh, Prof. Barry

Cowpea is a major staple legume food crop grown and consumed in the dry savanna regions of sub-Saharan West Africa. Cowpea provides much-needed income to both farmers and traders; cowpea grain is also a major source of protein for the growing human populations, particularly, women, infants and children in West Africa. This chapter describes the pests that attack cowpea at every stage of its development, including aphids, thrips, pod-sucking bugs and lepidopteran pod borers. The chapter explains current control measures and their limitations, and advocates development of an integrated pest management strategy by exploiting knowledge of pest biology, host plant resistance (including Bt cowpea) and biocontrol, as well as incorporating research utilizing recent advances in ’omics’ research technologies. The chapter also emphasizes the importance of disseminating new information to farmers via Scientific Animations Without Borders, which uses cell phones to distribute freely downloadable video media