TAMU-1, Increasing Utilization of Cowpeas to Promote Health and Food Security in Africa.

Texas A&M University as lead university           

Increasing Utilization of Cowpeas to Promote Health and Food Security in Africa

U.S. PI & Institution and Collaborating Host Countries

Lead U.S.:
Joseph Awika Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Susanne Talcott, TAMU, U.S.
Lloyd Rooney, TAMU, U.S.
Bir Bahadur Singh, TAMU, U.S.
Chitundu Kasase, U of Z, Zambia
John Shindano, U of Z, Zambia
Kalaluka Lwanga Munyinda, U of Z, Zambia
Kennedy Muimui, ZARI, Zambia
Abdul Faraj, Egerton University, Kenya
Prisca Tuitoek, Egerton University, Kenya
Amanda Minnaar, U of P, South Africa
Gyebi Duodu, U of P, South Africa


  1. Identify cowpea lines with high content of health enhancing compounds and their relationship to seed color and other seed traits.
  2. ...?
  3. Elucidate the mode of inheritance (heritability) of selected bioactive traits in cowpea and genetic association between physical and bioactive traits.
  4. Establish strong linkages with HC policymakers and other stakeholders, and develop outreach strategies that will lead to long term increase in cowpea consumption for health and food security.
  5. Strengthen cowpea nutrition research in Kenya and Zambia

Problem Statement:

Many poor families in Sub Saharan Africa suffer high rates of malnutrition, especially among children, while diet-related chronic diseases have become a common phenomenon among urban African populations. Moreover, evidence indicates that childhood malnutrition may lead to increased risk of chronic diseases, e.g., cancer in adulthood. In fact nutrition-related chronic diseases are becoming increasingly common in Africa, especially in urban areas, thus putting a large strain on the limited health infrastructure and imposing economic burden among the poor.

Target Outputs:

  • Associations between phenotype, chemical composition and bioactive properties determined.
  • Ability of elite cowpea cultivars to influence cancer initiation and growth determined.
  • Ability of elite cowpea lines to regulatory inflammation established.
  • Ability of elite cowpea lines to influence cardiovascular markers established.
  • F2 seeds obtained, filed crosses performed in Zambia and at TAMU.
  • F1 and F2 seeds characterized for heritability of key bioactive traits.
  • 30-40 stakeholders from HC trained on nutritional/health benefits of cowpea and the role cowpea can play in ensuring food security and overall health.
  • Three graduate student trainees make progress towards graduation (2 from HC at University of Pretoria and 1 at Texas A&M).
  • Research findings published in scientific journals – at least 2.