Cowpea (Vigna Unguiculata (L.) Walp.) (Fabaceae) Landrace Diversity in Northen Ethiopia

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Addis Ababa Universty


The study was carried out to identify and document the landrace diversity and ethnobotany of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) (Fabaceae) in northern Ethiopia. Ethnobotanical data were collected using semi-structured interview, field observations (guided field walk) and market surveys. A total of 54 germplasms and representative voucher specimens were collected from different geographical locations ranging in altitude from 1260 – 2140 m.a.s.l. Of these, 45 were local farmers’ varieties (83%) and nine were commercial varieties (17%) introduced by Melkassa Agricultural Research Centre. The majority of farmers (75%) preferred the erect type of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata subsp. cylindrica (L.) Verdc. farmers’ variety KIMITE and subsp. cylindrica (L.) Verdc. farmers’ variety CHEKELE) because of many reasons such as ability of the crop to be harvested before the cereal crops are ready, high grain and straw yield, organoleptic character, early maturity, feed value, adaptability to all types of soil, disease resistance, drought tolerance and market value. The spreading type of cowpea (subsp. unguiculata farmers’ variety JERGADIE) produced much more leaves than grains and mainly the farmers use it for improving soil fertility. These local farmers’ varieties contribute to smallholders’ income as a higher-value crop like cereals and to diet as a cost effective source of protein intake especially in Central Tigray, South Wello and Oromia Special Zones of northern Ethiopia. In Amhara Region, cowpea is mainly used for human food in the form of boiled grain (NIFRO), baking bread (KITA) and sauces (SHIRO WET). There is high potential area for cowpea production; but the actual production by local farmers is restricted to some areas. Therefore, the responsible body (Ministry of Agriculture and Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research) needs to enhance and/or distribute the important cowpea landrace varieties to the areas where the crop can be suitably grown. Key words: Cowpea, Ethiopia, ethnobotany, farmers’ knowledge, landrace



Cowpea, Ethiopia, Ethnobotany, Farmers’ knowledge, landrace