Improving cowpea productivity and production in Africa
Cowpea is one of the most important legume food crops in Sub-Saharan Africa where it constitutes the major protein source for people both in rural and urban centers. Cowpea production is affected by insect pests, especially the Legume pod borer, Maruca vitrata r, that causes the largest preharvest damages s , reducing grain yield by up to 80% and lowering quality of the grain. For the benefit of African farmers, African scientists identified PBR Cowpea (Bt cowpea), with in-built protection against Maruca damage, as a solution for Maruca Damage.
The PBR Cowpea Project is a public-private partnership that is developing and disseminating cowpea with resistance to Maruca pod borer for increased productivity. The project partnership that brings together leading African and international institutions is led by AATF through support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The Project is being implemented in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Malawi. Over the last 11 years, it has recorded significant milestones including the first commercial release of the product in Nigeria and the world.
The Cowpea, known as PBR Cowpea, will increase production through control of Maruca pod borer. The benefits will include larger harvests, higher incomes and improved health through the reduced need for harmful treatments.
“I look forward to cowpea seed varieties that can control the attack by pests. I believe such varieties would reduce my costs of growing cowpea, increase my yields and also the income I get from the sale of the crop. I would want researchers to develop seeds that are high yielding and are resistant to pests and diseases.”
Momodu Ahiaba, cowpea farmer, Kaduna State, Nigeria
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), one of the original funders of AATF, supports the Nitrogen-Use Efficient, Water-Use Efficient, Salt-Tolerant Rice Project; Pod-Borer Resistant Cowpea Project; and the Water Efficient Maize for Africa project. USAID supports the MLN Diagnostics and Management Project through CIMMYT. USAID also supported the Striga Control in Maize project as part of the US government’s Feed the Future initiative.
Improved nutrition and food security for about 8 million farmers and their families and better health, environment and income for farmers
Better health, environment and income for farmers
To improve cowpea productivity and production in Africa by developing and disseminating farmer preferred and locally adapted Maruca-resistant varieties to cowpea growers for better harvests.
number of people that consume cowpea in Africa
Estimated cowpea yield loss to Maruca vitrata in areas endemically infested, when no control measures are…
Minimum estimated boost to farmer harvest with use of PBR cowpea
Number of sprays needed with PBR Cowpea compared to the usual 6-8 applications