Indigenous Knowledge Influences Cowpea ( Vigna Unguiculata ) Production among Smallholder Farmers in Northern Uganda
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This study documented the available indigenous knowledge (IK) on cowpea production in northern Uganda. The study focused on smallholder farmers along the River Nile belt in Nebbi, Arua, and Moyo districts in Uganda where cowpea is still grown widely. Data was collected from 300 randomly selected smallholder farmers in the study area, using a semi-structured survey questionnaire. Our findings show that only 17% of farmers cultivated cowpea on more than 1 acre. The majority cultivated cowpea on 1 acre (31%) and half an acre (30%). We found that 5 cowpea varieties (small brown helium, medium black, pungent smell, small white red helium, and large white red helium) are grown. The varieties that are commonly grown are small white red helium (34.7%) and large white red helium (48.3%). However, the findings reveal that the small brown, medium black and pungent smell varieties are becoming extinct. The major source of seeds for farmers was found to be local markets (36.3%), farmers’ own preserved seeds from previous seasons (28.3%), purchasing and using own preserved seeds (23.0%), urban markets (2%), purchased from both local and urban markets (6%), and borrowed from other farmers (1%). The major field pests that affect cowpea production were found to be aphids, glow worms, and beetles. Farmers control them using IK methods, including homemade remedies (69.3%) and handpicking (36.1%). Farmers control storage pests using storage, farmer use neem leaves or wood ash spread in granaries (25.8%), “osikusi” (3.9%), “dula” (1.9%), underground tunnels (4.7%), pots (0.3%), and empty drums (0.3%). These results suggest that IK plays a significant role in cowpea production, and is critical to enhancing socio-economic growth, increasing income, and ensuring food security among smallholder farmers.
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