By Jimmy Siyasa
Dr. Rosemary Bulyaba, Head of the Department of Natural Resource Economics and Agribusiness, has won a grant, worth USD 69,630, from The World Academy of Sciences. The grant, focusing on Exploiting the potential of cowpeas for vegetable use in Uganda, will run for two years.
Specific objectives of the study:
- Evaluate genotypic and phenotypic variation for leafy vegetable attributes in cowpea genotypes
- Assess consumer preferences of promising cowpea lines (post-harvest storage quality, nutritional, taste & leafy morphological traits)
- Build capacity at masters level in cowpea crop improvement
Relevance of the proposed research project to the institution and country
In Uganda, 28.9% of children below 5 years are stunted. About 3.6% of children suffer from moderate acute malnutrition, while 1.3% have severe acute malnutrition (Adebisi et al., 2019). Additionally, 28.5% of women aged 15 to 49 years continue to be affected by chronic anemia.
The high protein, amino acid, carbohydrate, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber or expected phytochemical content of cowpea make the crop an important nutritious food in the human diet. Increasing its production and availability through crop improvement is one step towards eradicating food and nutritional insecurity among those vulnerable groups.
This research project funded by The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) on cowpea will also build the capacity in cowpea production and cowpea improvement for farmers in Uganda as a whole. This is in addition to supporting and empowering 2 female MS students at Uganda Christian University in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences.
Overall, through the research project, the researcher(s) hope to develop the cowpea leafy vegetable value chain while aligning it with the needs of local populations to ensure that there is sustainable access to nutrient-dense and affordable food crops that are also well suited and adapted to their local environments in Uganda.