The Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has released four new varieties of cowpea that have the potential to increase significantly the level of production from 50 to 100 per cent and also the income of cowpea producers.
A statement issued by the Director of Crop Services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture on Tuesday named the varieties as Bawutawuta, Songotra, Padi-Tuya and Zaayura.
It said the newly developed varieties were tested under sole and addictive series intercropping conditions in on-station trials for three years (2005-2007) and adaptive trials with farmers for another three years (2006-2008).
They were developed to address the constraints of low yield potentials of existing varieties, susceptibility to insect pests and striga gesneriodes infection, poor soil fertility and terminal drought which militate against cowpea production.
The varieties, the statement said, were adapted to sole cropping conditions, with grain yield variations of 1.6 to 2.5 tons per hectare in the Guinea Savanna zone compared with 0.75 to 1.2 tons per hectare in the Sudan savanna zone.
It said through the formal and informal sensory evaluations, these varieties had been shown to have very good cooking qualities for kosei, watse and tubani preparations.
“These varieties combined high yields and relatively larger grain sizes with high levels of resistance to aphids, bruchids and striga gesnerioides and therefore have the potential of reducing the cost of production and storage.”
Cowpea is one of the most important grain and fodder legume crops in Ghana and over 75 per cent of annual national output is realised in the three northern regions, which lie within the Guinea and Sudan Savanna zones.