Safe Storage of Legume Seeds From Pests- A Case Study in Cowpeas.
Bir Singh, IITA c/o L.W. Lambourn & Co., Croydon, CR9 3EE, England
Cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] is an important source of nutritious food and fodder in the semi-arid tropics especially in West Africa. Cowpea yields are low due to several biotic and abiotic constraints. Among the biotic factors, the storage weevil, Callosobruchus maculatus (F.) is the most important pest of stored cowpeas and it has a world-wide distribution. The traditional varieties are susceptible and suffer maximum damage. The infestation of the seed weevil starts from the field and gets established in the stores In Nigeria, the dry weight loss during 9 months storage due to bruchid has been estimated to be 87% when stored without any protection.. Through a combination of resistant varieties and improved storage methods, the losses in cowpeas during storage have been greatly minimized. Participatory evaluation and demonstrations have led to wide scale adoption by farmers of these varieties and methods and enhanced farmers’ income and house hold food security in West Africa.