A socio-economic assessment of cowpea diversity on the Ghanaian market: implications for breeding

W. Quaye, K. Adofo, E.S. Buckman, G. Frempong, J.P. Jongerden, G.T.P. Ruivenkamp

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Given the importance of cowpea [Vignaunguiculata(L)Walp] in fighting malnutrition and poverty, a socio-economic assessment of cowpea diversity found on the Ghanaian market was conducted. The objective was to investigate emerging consumer preference for cowpea and make recommendations for the development of tailor-made varieties. Forty-seven cowpea accessions were collected from traders interviewed for morphological characterization to ascertain the degree of diversity. Data was subjected to Hierarchical Cluster Analysis using Genstat Discovery Edition 3 software and variations among the cowpea varieties based on the selected seed traits established. Cowpea varieties found on the markets were broadly categorized into foreign and local varieties and usually named after their sources. Foreign Cowpea varieties were very popular on the markets surveyed as reflected in the per cent distribution of respondents by cowpea varieties sold; Niger (52%), Burkina Faso (50%), Togo (46%), Lagos (36%) and Ghana (18–21%). At the trader level, the order of preference for cowpea characteristics was cleanliness (stone free and no dirt), colour (white seed colour), easy to cook, taste, size, less weevil damage, dryness and place of origin ranked in decreasing order of importance. At the consumer level, cleanliness that was also tied to the extent of weevil damage was ranked most important. This was followed by seed colour (preferable white), short cooking time, size and taste. From the sociological perspective, concerns are raised on the impact of past cowpea breeding activities giving the level of competitiveness and market performance of locally improved varieties observed. Recommendation is made for traders and consumers to be considered as relevant actors in all the stages of crop improvement and breeding activities. This is crucial for enhanced small-holder farmer market access and strengthened food networks in rural economies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-687
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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