Over a decade of efforts by the Tropical Legumes project towards building and strengthening agricultural extension systems is paying off in Northern Nigeria as smallholder farmers achieve economic independence and prosperity. Capacity-building exercises and intensive training of extension agents has encouraged many to take up cowpea seed production.
Cowpea remains vital for many smallholders in Nigeria where it is grown primarily for human consumption. Also, the fodder market of the crop has encountered a considerable success in the animal feed market in recent years.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has successfully partnered with the Tropical Legumes project to increase the adoption and uptake of improved cowpea varieties by farmers in Northern Nigeria. As a result, improved and farmer-preferred varieties, seed production and supply has seen significant enhancement.
Between 2007 and 2013, more than 530,000 tons of certified seeds (CS) and quality declared seeds (QDS) were produced in project target zones in Northern Nigeria. As result of capacity building of the national breeding system, the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), about 4–10 tons of breeder seed were annually injected into the groundnut system to meet the national demand against 500–1,000 kg prior the project interventions.