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A guide to profitable Cowpea Farming – 7 Steps

The benefits of Cowpea farming cuts across different areas. This cuts across health, ecology, food etc. This shows how lucrative cowpea farming is. Not just to the farmer but to everyone.

Cowpea is a leguminous plant of the pea family which is cultivated mainly for its edible seeds and pods. The seeds of the cowpea plants are called bean seeds. The bean seeds are easily recognizable by their oval structure and shape with a black spot in its center which is like an eye.

The bean seeds come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are usually of a red, creamy white, black or brown color. The bean seeds are rich with essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins and minerals which makes them constitute as an essential part of one’s diet.

What is cowpea farming?

Cowpea farming is the system of agriculture that deals with the cultivation and production of cowpeas for subsistence and commercial purposes. Some people also refer to it as bean farming.

The cowpea plant serve as both a food crop and also a livestock feed or forage crop. It is cultivated in the semi-arid tropical areas of Africa, Asia, Europe and America. Africa accounts for a large percentage of cowpeas produced globally with Nigeria accounting for up to 48% of cowpea production. Globally, Nigeria is responsible for 46% of the world’s total cowpea production.

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6 Benefits of Cowpea Farming?

  1. It is suitable for livestock feed
  2. Cowpea helps to check soil erosion
  3. It constitute as a part of human diet
  4. Cowpea farming serves the flour processing industry
  5. It offers a range of health benefits
  6. Cowpea farming helps to maintain soil fertility.
  7. Cowpea farming is the ideal crop for any farming business.

It is the ideal crop for any farming business

Cowpea serve as an ideal crop to cultivate for most farmers as it is a food crop that is largely consumed by the population. Thus, cowpea has an large, ever ready market demand in both the local and international market which makes it a very lucrative and profitable farming venture. This makes the business generates huge turnover at the end of the farming season due to huge demand for cowpea all year round.

It is a suitable livestock feed

The bean pods, stems, bean seeds, leaves can all be used to feed livestock animals like cows, goats and sheep. The name cowpea was given to the plant as it was a very important forage crop for cows.

Cowpea helps to check soil erosion

Cowpea is a cover crop which means that it grows quickly, covering ground space in the process. Thus it helps to prevent wearing away of the soil.

It is a suitable crop to cultivate as cowpea adapts better than other crops to different types of soils and farming practices. Cowpea is also drought resistant and can adapt to climatic changes better than other crops.

It constitute as a part of human diet

Cowpea is rich in essential proteins, vitamins like vitamin A, B, B2, B3 etc. minerals and other nutrients that are essential for proper human growth and development. As a food crop, cowpea is consumed by most people as it is relatively cheaper than most food crops.

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Cowpea serves the flour processing industry

Similar to grains, bean seeds of the cowpea plant can also be processed into flour. The flour is commonly used in Nigeria to make African snacks like akara ( Beans Cake ).

Cowpea offer a range of health benefits

Regular consumption of bean seeds has a lot of health benefits to offer. These include; maintenance of cholesterol level, regulation of blood sugar, ideal for an healthy skin, for treatment of pancreatic problems, for weight loss etc.

Cowpea serve to maintain soil fertility

Cowpea farming improves soil fertility when it is left to decay in the soil as it increases the level of organic matter in the soil. Cowpea stems, leaves and pods can also be used to make compost which is also used by farmers to improve soil fertility.

How to start cowpea farming – 7 Steps

  1. Selection of site or farmland for Cowpea farming
  2. Get healthy cowpea seeds
  3. Have a good irrigation system
  4. Have an appropriate weeding plan for the cowpea farm
  5. Apply fertilizers to your cowpea farm
  6. Stake your cowpea
  7. Control pest and diseases.

The cowpea plant is mainly propagated by planting its seeds. The steps to be taken when planting cowpeas are;

Selection of the site or farmland for cowpea farming

Before any planting is carried out, the area where one intends to start the farm should be selected. The area should not be waterlogged and should be free from pest or weed infestation. The selected area should contain good soil which would support the optimum growth of cowpea.

Healthy seeds should be gotten

The seeds required to plant the cowpeas should be healthy and be in good condition. They should be free from pest or disease attacks.

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Adequate watering

The cowpeas should be adequately watered to prevent desiccation and drying up of the seeds. Adequate watering is essential for the growth of the cowpea plants. They should be watered at least thrice a week.

Appropriate weeding of the farm

Weeds compete with the cowpea plants for soil nutrients, air, water, space and sunlight. Thus it is important to eliminate the weeds so as to ensure good cowpea yield. Application on herbicides can be used for weed control, also, manual effort could be employed by uprooting or clearing of the weeds.

Application of fertilizers

Cowpeas as legumes serve as nitrogen fixating plants. This means that they can fix atmospheric nitrogen directly to their root nodules, but however, cowpea still require other nutrients for proper growth. These nutrients can be supplemented to them through the application of fertilizer.

Stake your Cowpea

Cowpeas as cover crops grow all over the ground similar to climbing plants. They require support if they must grow upwardly, so for this reason there is the need for staking. Staking involves fixing or driving sticks or poles into the ground for the plants to climb to for support.

Pest and disease control of cowpea farm

Pests that affect the growth of cowpeas include weevils, leaf miners, aphids, nematodes, pod borers, caterpillars, beetles etc. They chew up the leaves and bore holes in the bean seeds thereby affecting the quality and quantity of cowpea. Regular use of pesticides will serve to prevent and reduce pest attacks. Diseases like mosaic, stem rot, root rot, leaf wilt, bacterial blight affect cowpeas.

They tend to slow down and negatively affect the growth of the cowpea. Appropriate chemicals should be used to treat the diseases.

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I am Israel Otoijamun, the Founder of Ofarms.ng. I am a blogger, web and graphics designer, brand manager, product manager and farmer. I have interests in crypto currency, technology, business and agriculture.

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Israel Otoijamun

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