Scientists are meeting in Saly, Senegal, this month for the Fifth World Cowpea Research Conference. The meeting will discuss threats to the survival and production of black-eyed peasâ€”one of Africa’s oldest and most resilient and nutritious crops.
They will also discuss key constraints to cowpea production, share progress being made in advanced cowpea genomics, and consider the best ways to unlock cowpea’s potential as a hedge against climate change, hunger, and poverty.
IITA is hosting the World Cowpea Research Conference with the Government of Senegal, the Dry Grain Pulses Collaborative Research Support Program, and Purdue University.
Among the issues to be discussed:
â€¢ Rescuing cowpea from extinction: Progress on global efforts to rescue the cowpea gene pool.
â€¢ “Designer” peas: State-of-the-art genetic research to develop “designer,” insect-resistant black-eyed peas.
â€¢ Cashing in on cowpea: Improved varieties offer a pathway out of poverty.
â€¢ Cowpea genemap: Update work to produce a new genetic map for cowpea to accelerate efforts to breed improved varieties.
â€¢ Biological controls for cowpea pests: Using genomics tools to develop and deploy biocontrol agents to manage insect pest populations.
â€¢ Green-er farming: How farmers are using cowpea as “green” fertilizers to revitalize degraded soils, and use crop waste as energy-rich feed for cows, sheep, and goats.
â€¢ Postharvest: Millions of African farmers are using hermetic storage without insecticides to safely store cowpea.
â€¢ Cowpea-based food entrepreneurship: Cowpea-based street foods provide income for thousands of women in West and Central Africa.