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Needs assessment of cowpea production practices, constraints and utilization in South Africa

JAN Asiwe


Cowpea is an important grain legume. Research and production of cowpea have been neglected in South Africa in the last three decades due to lack of funding and interest of researchers to work on the improvement of the crop. The consequence of these are that cultivated varieties are unimproved and the lack of knowledge of good agronomic practices worsen the limitations to cowpea production. In order to ascertain the extent of these problems and determine the needs of farmers, a baseline survey was conducted among cowpea production provinces of South Africa (Limpopo, Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga) between 2004 and 2006 cropping seasons. Questionnaires were administered among farmers in co-operative societies. Data were collected on cropping systems, cultural practices, yield levels, constraints to production and utilization. Responses obtained from farmers were analysed using non-parametric or descriptive statistics. The data was summarised into averages, percentages or ranges. Results identified major production practices, importance and constraints to cowpea production in the provinces. The results form a useful pathway for needs towards the development of well-tailored breeding objectives to improve cowpea production in South Africa.

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eISSN: 1684-5315