Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp) is considered the most important food grain legume in the dry savannas of tropical Africa where it is grown on more than 12.5 million hectares. It is rich in quality protein and its energy content almost equal to that of cereal grains; it is a good source of quality fodder for livestock and provides cash income. Nearly 200 million people in Africa consume the crop. Many biotic and abiotic factors greatly reduce cowpea productivity in the traditional African farming systems. Among these constraints is the pod borer, Maruca vitrata, which perennially damages cowpea pods in the fields.
AATF is coordinating a a public/private sector partnership project to promote technological interventions that will optimise cowpea productivity and utilisation in Sub-Saharan Africa.