Cowpeas (Vigna Unguiculata) are widely cultivated across Africa and other countries.
Its popularity has also reached the shores of Uganda. The crop is also referred to as black pea, but in Uganda, it is regarded as Goobe, Eboo, or boo.
The annual leguminous crop is highly nutritious and favorable in dry and semi-dry areas in the country coupled with a short harvest time. Sometimes cowpeas can be mistaken for common small beans.
Cowpea is Uganda’s third-biggest legume crop, and it has significant economic value. Currently, the country produces around 12,000 tons of cowpeas per year.
Varieties of Cowpeas In Uganda
Before we proceed to how to grow this crop in Uganda, it’s pertinent to know the common varieties in the country. There are only four varieties in Uganda and they include the following.
- Brown-eyed peas: It’s known for its brown eye with pods ranging from green to purple.
- Cream peas: The pods aren’t crowded and its seeds are creamy in color.
- Crowder peas: It has a mark of brown color and produces black peas.
- Black-eyed/pink-eyed peas: There’s a black eye around the ileum and it produces white seeds.
Places In Uganda To Grow Cowpeas
Cowpeas are farmed across Uganda, but particularly in the drier districts of the north and east. Arua, Nebbi, Lira, Soroti, Kumi, Pallisa are the main districts for growing this crop in Uganda.
Read also: How To Grow Cowpeas In South Africa
Rules of Growing Cowpeas In Uganda
Cowpeas are short-season crops that can be grown all year. However, 90 percent of the crop is grown between September and December each year, during the second rains. The following are laid down rules for growing cowpeas successfully in Uganda.
- Weed the shrubs and stumps from the area or use weed master to spray the sprouting weeds.
- Based on your field preparation, ridges or flatbeds are best for growing cowpeas.
- Ensure to plant the seeds around 2 cm deep and carefully bury the seeds with a rake.
- Keep 50 cm spacing between rows and 20 cm within each row of plants.
- A spacing of 75cmx50cm should be maintained when the cowpea is mixed with other crops such as maize.
- Thin the seedlings to leave two plants per stand after two weeks when the seeds have emerged.
- Cowpeas are self-fertile plants, therefore there’s no need to fertilize them.
Harvesting Cowpeas In Uganda
Seeds change in size, shape, and color as they mature. The number of seeds per pod typically ranges from 8 to 20.
The cowpea plant takes 100-125 days to reach maturity on average. The leaves will begin to dry out at this point, although they may not fall off altogether.
You can keep the pods in the field to allow the moisture in the seed to evaporate.
Tip: Learn how to harvest cowpeas here.
Benefits of Cowpeas
You need to start eating Cowpeas if you haven’t done so for the following benefits:
- Cowpea is a nutrient-dense food. Fibre, iron, protein, and potassium are all abundant in it.
- It also has a low calorie and fat content, making it an excellent food for weight loss and other lifestyle-related issues.
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid) is abundant in cowpeas, which aids in the growth of the fetus during gestation. A lack of folic acid during gestation might result in birth abnormalities.
Read also: How To Grow Cowpeas In Zambia
Pests And Diseases Control
Cowpeas has lots of enemies as pests and diseases. Its pests include Aphids, Blister beetles, Thrips, Pod borers, etc while its diseases include a fungal disease called Fusarium wilt.
It attacks the plant’s tissue that transport water and nutrient in the cowpeas. Fusarium wilt causes browning and wilting in cowpea plants. Their growth will be stifled.
You can control Aphids by spraying pesticides on them. Blister beetles can be controlled by wearing gloves to handpick them and destroy them afterward. Pesticides can also deal with Thrips and Pod borers.
Finally, control root-knot nematodes to prevent fusarium wilt in cowpeas.