Farmers’ selection cues in cowpea for vegetable use in eastern Uganda
Kizito, Elizabeth B
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A participatory cowpea varietal selection was carried out in Eastern Uganda in the Kumi district among farmers (n=30) in the sub-Counties of Ongino, Kumi and Kanyum. An arange of opinions were collected to identify farmers’ selection criteria based on different sensory attributes and their most preferred genotypes for vegetable use. A Apreference analysis was carried out to obtain quantitative preference scores of each plot. This was followed by organoleptic tests which included attributes like taste, aroma and texture of the genotypes at the vegetative and immature R4 stages. Focus group discussions (FGDs) were also held to find a consensus of the independent evaluations made by individual farmers. Data for sixteen (16) cowpea genotypes were collected at the different above-mentioned stages. Quantitative data were analyzed based on farmers’ scores made on the different evaluated attributes and ANOVA was used to provide mean differences between location, gender and genotype at a significant level of 5%. The preference score for each of the varieties tested was determined and presented. Data from FGDs were grouped, similarities and differences were later determined depending on their level of importance to the farmers. Significant differences (p<0.05) in farmer choices were observed for leaf taste, immature pod aroma, taste and texture; mature pod aroma, taste between farmer groups, age genotype and gender. Irrespective of age, gender, farmer group and genotype, farmers seemed to give more importance to the smooth texture, little hard leaves when chewing, sweet taste with a mild aroma (leaves) and a moderate aroma (pods). Majority (9%) of the farmers preferred Ebelat (landrace) at V4 stage; this was followed by Danila (8.7%). On the other hand, UCUCOW1 (13% at immature and 10.2% at mature cooked R4 stage) followed by Ebelat (9% and 9.8% for immature and mature R4 stage, respectively) were preferred by the majority of the farmers. In terms of sensory attributes, farmers preferred genotypes with a sweet taste, moderate aroma and tender texture. The information is a baseline for understanding key farmer selection criteria in the utilization of cowpea as a vegetable which can be used in generating a demand-led variety design for the crop.