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Journal of Tropical Agriculture, Food, Environment and Extension

ISSN 1119-7455
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Article No 9 of Volume 3.1 (2004)

A. E. Agwu

Department of Agricultural Extension

University of Nigeria, Nsukka




This paper investigated cowpea varietal needs of farmers in Bauchi and Gombe states of Nigeria. A structured interview schedule was used to elicit information from a randomly selected sample of 130 farmers. A majority (53.8%) of the respondents grew a combination of local and improved cowpea varieties on their farms. The six most popular cowpea varieties grown by the respondents included ITA 60, TVx 3236 and Ife Brown, as well as,  “Kanannado”, “Yaro da kokari”, and “Bogoro”. Specifically, a majority (40.4 per cent, 59.4 per cent and 31.8 per cent) of the respondents grew Kanannado for its high yielding attribute, good seed qualities and pest/disease tolerance, respectively.  Similarly, 28.9 per cent, 21.6 per cent and 34.6 per cent of the respondents grew ITA 60, Ife Brown and Yaro da kokari, for early maturity, good cooking qualities and drought tolerance of the varieties, respectively. It further revealed that although improved cowpea varieties recorded considerable high scores on cowpea farms, a local variety (Kanannado) was the dominant variety grown by farmers in the area.  This implies that institutional cowpea breeding improvements directed at increasing yields of the farmers appear to have inadequately met the needs and requirements of their physical and socio-economic environments. This fact suggests the need for decentralised breeding approaches.  The central issue here is how best to meet users’ concerns.  This calls for better information on user needs and demand-driven systems of breeding.  Given the diversity and range of sophistication of farmers’ knowledge and practices, these requirements can be met in full by involving farmers in the breeding process, especially in making a choice between a wide range of cultivars to be promoted and in dissemination of products from breeding programmes.

Keywords: Improved cowpea, Vigna unguiculata, Cowpea needs.

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