Potential of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) for dry season seed and fodder production in Sahelian sandy soil of Niger


Recent surges in dry cowpea seed price and grain and fodder demand in Niger have resulted in the search for appropriate cultivars for dry season production for seed, grain, and fodder. However in addition to the common constraints to cowpea production in the wet season, high temperature in the months of March, April, and May is a major concern in cowpea production in the dry season in the Sahelian conditions of Niger. Preliminary trials have shown that it is possible to grow cowpea in the dry season if heat tolerant varieties can be found. Consequently, four cowpea cultivars (IT97K-499-38, lT98K-205-8, Ghana-l, and IT97K-499-35) selected from previous trials were evaluated for their dry season grain and fodder production potential. Results revealed that the potential for dry season cowpea grain and fodder production is very high, with a grain harvest ranging between 200 and 2,183 kg/ha and an average of 1,452 kg/ha, which is much higher than wet season production. At a current (2009) market price of 750-900 FCFA/kg and 900-1,000 FCFA/kg (1 US$ = 480 FCFA) of dry grain and fodder bundle respectively, dry season cowpea production stands first as an alternative for farmers to increased income, grain, seeds, and fodder and enrich the soil for the next rainy season. This is a profitable agribusiness for farmers in the country and across the border. Farmers could get even higher returns by producing seeds which sells for over 1,000 FCFA/kg during the dry season harvest, which also coincides with the beginning of the wet season and the peak demand for seeds and fodder.

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Publication: Program and Book of Abstracts, World Cowpea Conference
File type: External site

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