Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), the second most consumed legume in Ghana, has production deficit to meet consumption demands, a challenge which is fundamentally due to the traits of cowpea genotypes developed locally compared to consumer preferences for traits such as large, white or cream-seeded cowpea mostly imported from neighbouring countries. One way of increasing the demand for seeds of improved cowpea vairieties is through the development of farmer and consumer-preferred varieties that also possess multiple desirable traits and serve the needs of farmers, such as for intercropping. The need to develop consumer and farmer-preferred varieties, also known as market oriented varieties, calls for studies which interract with these key industry players to identify their preferences for some specific traits to be found in new and improved varieties rather than plant breeders only inviting farmers during the final variety release stage by which time farmers are forced to choose varieties out of the ones present at the time of release. The seed system in Ghana should to have private sector involvement and this would be a win for all industry players. However, there is a need to regulate these private sector players to ensure that set standards are maintained and farmers are not exploited. Though the cowpea seed system in Ghana is faced with a number of challenges, it still shows a high potential if there is increased government funding and strict enforcement of regulations rather than the over reliance on donor agencies for such exercises.
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RUFORUM Working document series
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