Experimental Agriculture


L. W.  KITCH a1c1, O.  BOUKAR a2, C.  ENDONDO a2 and L. L.  MURDOCK a1
a1 Department of Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
a2 Institute of Agricultural Research for Development, Maroua, Cameroon


Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) farmers from diverse geographical areas in northern Cameroon selected breeding lines from on-station trials for their own fields and explained their reasons (criteria) for making the selections. The average selection intensity employed by farmers varied from 6 to 17% and was similar to that employed by plant breeders. Their selection criteria fell into three broad categories relating to yield, preference and quality, and labour, which were very consistent over years, locations and gender. Selection criteria were strongly influenced by market preferences, reflecting the increasing role of cowpea as a cash crop. Implications of these findings for breeding strategies and genetic resource conservation are discussed.

(Accepted May 6 1998)

c1 Address for correspondence: FAO Sub-Regional Office for Southern and Eastern Africa, PO Box 3730, Harare, Zimbabwe. Email: laurie.kitch@field.fao.org