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Network for the Genetic Improvement of
Cowpea for Africa – NGICA

  • NGICA is a voluntary association of scientists and other stakeholders in cowpea.

  • NGICANs take a novel approach to maximizing the benefits of this crop in Africa – NGICAs seek to address the entire spectrum of shortcomings of the cowpea production and utilization system.

  • Cowpea (or black-eyed pea) is a key food crop grown by millions of women and men farmers in Africa. It has great potential to help feed Africa’s growing populations – but that potential is sadly unrealized.

  • Productivity of cowpea is far below its potential. Better genotypes are needed to:
    • Resist insects
    • Deal with parasitic weeds like Striga
    • Fill market demand

  • Cowpea faces many other constraints which limit production and availability to consumers:
    • Lack of a seed production and distribution system
    • An inadequate market information system
    • Diverse, sometimes disconnected and uncoordinated research efforts
    • Poor communication among researchers and to the public.

  • One of NGICA's central approaches is to foster the application of the tools of biotechnology to the genetic improvement of cowpea.

  • NGICA works in partnership with the African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF), and includes many who work for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and the Bean/Cowpea Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP); NGICA also help access resources (intellectual property, experience and advice) available from private-sector biotechnology companies.

  • Donors and supporters include the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kirkhouse Trust, USAID and others.

For a more detailed description of NGICA, click here

Gates Foundation funds Purdue effort to protect food, enhance African economy
Ag Communications
By Beth Forbes
June 6, 2007

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Some of the world's poorest people could increase their supply of a food staple and improve their region's economic standing thanks to a Purdue University research and extension education effort funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. [More...]

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