Participatory variety selection of cowpea using farmers’ knowledge

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Participatory variety selection (PVS) was applied to select cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) lines that possess farmer’s preferred traits in Hombolo, Tanzania. The cowpea accessions were provided by the National Genebank of Kenya and the National Plant Genetic Resources Centre, Tanzania, through an on-going project.

The objective was to select those lines with better performance. In the January - May 2014 season, 5 men and 5 women were invited to each of the four on-farm trial plots to evaluate 20 landraces of cowpea. The participant farmers were randomly selected from each village. We used a judgmental sampling technique to target specific people in the villages who are believed to possess more indigenous knowledge about cowpea, and also to ensure gender and age representation in the exercise. This was ensured through the help of field extension officers who are more familiar with farmers in the study site. The selection was based on grain size, yield, leaf size, leaf amount, maturity, drought tolerance, seed colour and mode of growth (creeping or climbing). All data were recorded on a 1 to 5 scale (1 being the highest score and 5 the lowest). We will soon share the results.

This activity is part of the project Linking Genetic Vulnerability to Loss of Resilience to Adapt to Climate Change