Situational analyses on cowpea value chain in Zambia: The case of an untapped legume

Situational analyses on cowpea value chain in Zambia: The case of an untapped legume

Mwila Natasha Muchemwa, Munyinda Kalaluka, Mwala Mick, KamfwaKelvin, Kambikambi Tamala, Siyunda Aaron, Sinyangwe Suwilanji, KanengaKennedy, Alamu Emmanuel Oladeji & Patrick Rubaihayo

Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp) is a vital crop for Zambia’s urban and rural households. This legume can be used as human and animal food and as a useful component of the agricultural production system, as it improves the fertility of depleted soils due to its ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen. Consequently, both the Zambian ministries of health and agriculture recommend and promote its use. Despite the value of cowpea, a critical look at the food system from production to consumption reveals gaps in knowledge regarding its various value chain components.

This literature review aims to synthesise pertinent information on cowpea and its value chain components in Zambia. Salient, but often overlooked, issues related to crop breeding, production, marketing, processing, and consumption are highlighted, with a focus on finding ways to improving the relevance and appreciation of this crop.

The aim of this situation analysis is to determine user needs and identify beneficial and impactful activities to be implemented at various stages of the value chain. Furthermore, conclusions drawn can be useful in the development of agricultural policies that promote cowpea production and use with the active participation of relevant actors. Ultimately, this contributes to the goal of incorporating a greater variety of crops within the Zambian food system to improve nutrient intake and support climate-smart, sustainable agricultural practices within communities.

The original article can be accessed here