Modern Cowpea Breeding to Overcome Critical Production Constraints in Africa and the U.S.

CRSP:   |  Region: ,   |  Topic:   |  Database:

Project Code:

Start Date:

End Date:

CRSP Phase:
Phase 1, Phase 2

Not Available

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Lead University:

Other Partners:

Principal Investigator(s):
Phillip Roberts

Co-Principal Investigator(s):
Ndiaga Cisse, ISRA, Senegal; Jeff Ehlers, UC-R, U.S.; Issa Drabo, INERA, Burkina Faso; Antonio Chicapa Dovala, IIA, Angola


This project addresses primary constraints under the Topical Areas of Inquiry for Theme A ”reducing cowpea production costs and risks for enhanced profitability and competitiveness”, and Theme B ”increasing the utilization of cowpea grain, food products and ingredients so as to expand market opportunities and improve human health.” Genomics and modern breeding methods will be used to improve cowpea for yield limiting constraints. By leveraging genomic resources developed under a complementary cowpea project, we will implement a comprehensive application of modern breeding protocols for cowpea. Until now cowpea, as an ‘orphan crop’, has lacked genomic resources for modern breeding despite its importance in African agriculture.


1. Develop improved, pest resistant and drought tolerant cowpea varieties for target regions in sub Saharan Africa and the U.S. using modern plant breeding tools. 2. Strengthen cowpea seed production and delivery systems in Angola, Burkina Faso, and Senegal to ensure delivery of improved varieties. 3. Technology Dissemination (Seed of Improved Cowpea Varieties in West Africa) Capacity Building for Host Country NARS


The project initiated collaborative research with Mr. Antonio Chicapa Dovala, head of the Legume Program of the Instituto de Investigacao Agronomica in Angola. Promising bean breeding lines from Central America, the Caribbean, and the United States, primarily of medium-sized market classes, were provided to the Angolan bean research program for evaluation for local adaptation and consumer acceptance. During the past few years, breeding lines derived from crosses between local landraces and sources of disease resistance have been field tested in Angola. The UPR bean breeding program collaborates with Dr. GracielaGodoy-Lutz, Instituto Dominicano de Investigaciones Agropecuarias y Forestales plant pathologist, in a locally-funded project entitled Evaluacion, multiplicacion y adopcion de lineas avanzadas de habichuela con resistencia a limitantes bioticas desarrolladas en el proyecto Bean/Cowpea CRSP that was approved by the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Agropecuarios y Forestales. The project provides an opportunity to continue to test the most promising lines from the Pulse CRSP breeding programs in the Dominican Republic. This collaboration has resulted in the development and release of disease resistant black and red mottled bean lines, such as PR0737-1 and PR0633-10, of potential benefit to farmers in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

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