Cowpea – Uganda II

Lead Organization:

Makerere University

Community of Practice:

East & Southern Africa


Tanzania and Malawi




Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Wasp) is one of the most important legume crops in arid and semi-arid regions of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and it is an important source of protein for resource poor farmers as well as an essential component of cereal-based cropping systems. It is a crop of major importance to the nutrition of resource poor rural households consumed both as a grain and a vegetable in the drier regions of Eastern Africa, where diets tend to heavily rely on starchy foods such as millet, sorghum, maize and cassava. Cowpea possesses multiple advantages for farmers, including high yields on poor soils unsuitable for the production of other crops, high rates of symbiotic nitrogen fixation and lower fertilizer requirements. It is also more tolerant to drought and high temperatures than other grain legumes. Cowpea yields in Uganda are constantly very low averaging 500 kg ha-1 due to production constraints such as low yield potential of landraces, narrow genetic base, lack of improved seed, pests and diseases attacks, and poor agronomic practices and poor market access. The main goal of this project is to raise the productivity and incomes of resource-poor smallholder farmers by developing adaptable cowpea technologies that address key production constraints and address traits that are highly preferred by farmers/consumers.

Grant Aims:

Cowpea varieties suited to the needs of smallholder farmers in Uganda.Improved availability of key nutrients (protein, vitamins) in lean seasons.Contribution to the CCRP’s proposed Sustainable Legume Intensification Initiative.Improved capacity of the Ugandan national legume improvement establishment, through further strengthening of links between Makerere University, NARO- NaSARRI and Africa 2000 Network.Establishment of a farmer research network focusing initially on cowpea. 

Outputs and Outcomes:

GIS analysis was used to identify geographical areas in Uganda that would support cowpea production. Soil data, climatic and socio-economic where used in this identification. Suitability maps were produced and used to form citing of trials.