Item Details

Title: Production guidelines for Cowpeas

Date Published: 2011
Author/s: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES Directorate Plant Production, South Africa
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Affiliation: Directorate Agricultural Information Services
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Private Bag X144, Pretoria, 0001 South Africa


Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp) is one of the most ancient human food sources and has probably been used as a crop plant since Neolithic times. A lack of archaeological evidence has resulted in contradicting views supporting Africa, Asia and South America as origin. Some literature indicates that cowpea was introduced from Africa to the Indian subcontinent approximately 2 000 to 3 500 years ago, at the same time as the introduction of sorghum and millet, while others state that before 300 BC, cowpeas had reached Europe and possibly North Africa from Asia. Speculations are that the Northern part of the Republic of South Africa (former Transvaal region) was the centre of speciation of V. unguiculata, owing to the presence of most primitive wild varieties

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