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UCR researchers awarded nearly $1.7M to develop improved cowpea varieties
Date:11/6/2007

owpea are used throughout Asia as a green bean, and go by the name yardlong or asparagus beans.

Produced on more than 30 million acres in hot, drought-prone regions of the tropics and subtropics, cowpea not only provides nutritious food for millions of people and their livestock, but also generates income for rural producers, traders, and small-scale urban food vendors, while at the same time enhancing soil fertility.

Cowpea yields are traditionally low in Africa, a continent where diets dont tend to be meat-based, said Philip Roberts, a professor of nematology and a co-principal investigator of the grant, who currently leads UCRs Bean/Cowpea Collaborative Research Support Program a highly successful project, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, that has assisted African institutes in developing more than five improved cowpea varieties over the past decade. The research this new grant will enable has potential to convert cowpea the poor mans meat in Africa into a better cash crop for income generation, thereby increasing living standards.

UCR researchers have been providing assistance to African scientists since the early 1980s in their work to develop improved cowpea varieties for poor farmers in Africa.

Because it has been largely neglected by the research community, cowpea is called an orphan crop. Despite its importance to a significant number of the resource-poor, it has lagged behind other grain legume crops in the development of basic genomic resources and tools needed to implement modern breeding approaches that could alleviate major constraints facing cowpea producers.

Our project will develop the key genomic resources that are currently lacking in cowpea, said Timothy Close'/>"/>

Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside  
Source:Eurekalert

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UCR researchers awarded nearly $1.7M to develop improved cowpea varieties
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