Project summary

Cowpea is a strategic crop for income generation and food security in West Africa and exclusively grown by smallholder farmers. The crop has important potentials for value addition through diversification of derived products and utilization, which is still unexploited in the sub-region. Social, cultural and economic factors hindering or promoting cowpea production and marketing systems are poorly documented. This lack of information and unavailability of reliable data on each segment of the cowpea value chain hampers the designing of interventions to develop this value chain. As a result, stakeholders along the cowpea value chains mainly farmers are unable to take advantage of existing internal and export markets. In addition, there have been a number of projects and initiatives at national and regional levels, which were poorly integrated and therefore unsustainable. This results in inefficient resource utilization and low investment in cowpea value chains. To tackle these challenges, this project was designed to ensure an inclusive and sustainable agricultural-led economic growth through two phases: (1) the mapping of cowpea data sources and data gaps along cowpea value chains and (2) the development of a virtual cowpea atlas platform which will include existing data on cowpea value chains in West Africa focusing on traders with the Republic of Benin, Nigeria, Niger and Senegal as case studies. Such a platform will motivate traders in cowpea value chains to diversity their suppliers, look for opportunities, incite producers to produce more cowpea and processors to increase the diversity in cowpea-based products since the grains would be available through traders. As an impact, the food and nutrition security of thousands of people growing and consuming cowpeas would be improved. Taken together, the objective, outputs, outcomes and impacts of this project are well aligned with the US Global Food Security Strategy and Legume Systems Innovation Lab Objectives.

The Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science Unit (PAGEV/GBioS) was in charge of the project activities implementation in Benin and ensured the monitoring and evaluation of the activities in all the countries partners. 


The total budget to execute the global project was estimated at 774, 334.4 USD with an amount of 391,633.40 USD for the first phase and 382,701USD for the second phase.

General and specific objectives

The objective of the Phase 1 is to map cowpea data sources and gaps along cowpea value chains in West Africa and specifically:

  • identify cowpea data sources along the cowpea value chains in target countries;
  • assess cowpea data sources and gaps along the cowpea value chains in target countries.

The general objective of the phase 2 is to develop a virtual cowpea atlas platform which will include existing data on cowpea value chains in West Africa and specifically:

  • fill relevant cowpea data gaps identified during Phase 1 with a focus on traders-driven data;
  • strengthen sustainable national data collection system;
  • document sociocultural and economic motivators and barriers to increased cowpea production and consumption in target countries;
  • provide a forum for the exchange of research on cowpea in West Africa;
  • design and deploy an interactive e-cowpea platform for easy access of cowpea traders to timely information on cowpea value chains;
  • develop a sustainable strategy to keep the platform running beyond the project life span;
  • train youth, women, and other actors involved in cowpea value chains, mainly the NARS, on the use of the cowpea platform.

Areas of intervention

Benin, Niger, Nigeria & Senegal

Technical and financial partners

Financial partners :

  • Michigan State University
  • Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Legume Systems Research

Technical partners:

  • Ceraas
  • GBioS
  • ABU
  • BAME


  • Dr. Ndjido Kane, CERAAS/ISRA (Centre d’Etude Regional pour l’Amélioration de l’Adaptation à la Sécheresse/Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles), Thiès Senegal, +221772717427 ;
  • Dr Ousmane Coulibaly, CERAAS/ISRA, Cotonou, République du Bénin,, +229 95349684 ;
  • Dr Nicodeme Fassinou Hotegni, Genetics, Biotechnology and Seed Science Unit (GBioS), University of Abomey-Calavi, Republic of Benin,, +229 97582361.

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