Nigeria is one of the famous producers of cowpea, the plant which is used for feeding animals, specifically cattle. Is everything perfect with cowpea production in Nigeria or perhaps there are some issues? Read about particular features and problems of cowpea production in Nigeria.
Cowpea production: the main features
When it comes to cowpea, Nigeria is surely a rich country. This crop is full of useful elements like magnesium, calcium, thiamine, phosphorous, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and vitamins A, C, and B6. The only issue of cowpea is that the crop is unable to stand cold weather, that is why it grows in such quantities in Nigeria, Niger and other African countries with hot climate. Cowpea usually grows in the tropics, which include Africa, Europe, Asia, and America.
Usually, cowpea is tolerant to drought, and it grows well in different soils. It can also support the soils with low fertility. Usually, the small-scale farms produce cowpea plant – they grow it together with the other crops. Cowpea grows well in shade. It has a quality to prevent erosion, as it quickly covers the ground.
The growth and development of cowpea are important because this product is high in protein. The other things that are valued in cowpea are its adaptation to various soil types, tolerance to drought, and improvement of soil fertility. That is why cowpea holds a huge economic value in different countries of the world.
Which problems could cowpea production in Nigeria potentially experience? Here are some examples.
Problems of cowpea production in Nigeria
The Nigerian cowpea plants are often attacked by different pests, which tend to extract juice from their leaves and spread the viruses, in particular, cowpea mosaic one. The plant is also attacked by various diseases which are caused by the bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The parasitic types of weeds, Alectra and Striga, prevent the growth of plants at all stages and choke them. Nermatodes work by preventing the roots of the plant from absorption of nutritional substances and water from the earth soil.
Many crops of cowpea are also fed by rain. Even though the plant is tolerant to drought, the farmers in the driest regions manage to obtain low harvests of cowpeas.
Another problem that gives cowpea farmers a headache is pathogens, which come in three types: Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Fusarium. They cause rotting of the roots along with damping off.
These problems are quite common, and in case the diseases manage to affect the seeds before germinating, the seeds have a very little chance to grow out of the soil. If you dig them up, the soil can get clumped to them by thin threads. The seedlings usually wither and die eventually. To avoid this problem, you are recommended to plant the seeds in late spring, when the soil is already warmed up. These diseases usually appear in cool and moisturized environment. Also, you should not plant the seeds too close to each other.
Cowpea production in Nigeria is something that the country could be proud of. The farmers who manage cowpeas need to learn a lot of useful tricks to avoid the major problems with their harvest.