Humble Cowpea Could be a Cash Cow for Tribals in Goa - The New Indian Express

Humble Cowpea Could be a Cash Cow for Tribals in Goa

Published: 20th April 2014 12:46 PM

Last Updated: 20th April 2014 12:46 PM

The cowpea crop, which can be harvested in a very short period and does not require much irrigation, could provide a financial boost to the tribal farmers of Goa, according to the Indian Council for Agricultural Research.

ICAR is currently working with a 100 tribal farmers in Dhulape area of Utorda village to encourage cowpea cultivation.

"It is much in demand in the state and outside. It is the fastest growing cash-crop," ICAR Goa Director N P Singh told PTI.

Further, it is cheaper to grow. "This crop can grow without any irrigation as it survives on the residual moisture in the sand. Locally known as Alsando, it has three Goa-based varieties. We are working on them to improve their productivity," Singh said.

"We are trying to find new high-yielding varieties through all India co-ordinated network programmes," said Manohara K K, Scientist (Plant Breeding), ICAR.

Improved varieties from Pantnagar (Uttarakhand) and Dharwad (Karnataka) can yield 2 to 2.5 tons of cowpea per hectare.

It has a lot of demand in Goa as it is an integral part of pav-bhaji, a local breakfast dish.

The varieties which are grown in the country are mostly white, but the local cowpea variety has red seeds which have more protein and anti-oxidants, according to Singh.

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