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West African Cowpea Consortium (WACC)

Main Focus

The main focus of the WACC has been the development of new cowpea varieties with resistance to the parasite Striga gesnerioides. This is being achieved through the use of Marker Assisted Selection (MAS). More recently projects have been looking at additional constraints including Aphids, Brown Blotch and Alectra. Within these projects student scholarships have been awarded and training provided in molecular breeding techniques.


Click here to view a larger map. WACC projects are denoted by green markers.

ISRA, Bambey, Senegal

Research Title: "Strengthening National Capacity for the development of DNA markers and the application of Marker-Assisted Selection (MAS) in cowpea breeding for Senegal".
PI: Dr Ndiaga Cissé.

Objectives include: Identification of DNA markers for Striga, aphid, and Macrophomina root rot in cowpea; application of Marker-Assisted Selection (MAS) in breeding new resistant varieties of cowpea and evaluation of resulting breeding lines for varietal release.

IER, Bamako, Mali

Research Title: "Development of cowpea varieties resistant to Striga and adapted to the Sahelian zone".
PI: Dr Mamadou Toure.

Objectives include; testing new lines (developed in the first phase of this project) in Ségou region in farmer field and release high yielding cowpea cultivars with resistance to Striga; develop new improved cultivars resistant to S. gesnerioides strain from Koporo (Mopti) by means of molecular breeding strategies.

INERA, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Research Title: "Breeding cowpea (Vigna unguiculta (L.) Walp.) for multiple resistances and farmer's preferred traits for Burkina Faso ecological zones".
PI's: Dr Jeremy Ouegdrago & Dr Jean Baptiste Tignegre de la Salle.

The project has developed four Striga resistant cowpea varieties, which have been released to farmers.
Objectives include: Identification of the biotypes of Aphids and C. Capsicii prevailing in the major cowpea production areas of Burkina Faso; development or use of existing breeding populations for MAS purpose; validation of a marker for the resistance to Striga races 1 and Kp, Aphid and C.Capsicii, to apply MAS to develop Striga, Aphid and C. Capsicii-resistant cowpea lines.

SARI, Tamale, Ghana

Research Title: "Deployment of the cowpea aphid resistance and Striga resistance gene for cowpea improvement in Ghana".
PI: Francis Kusi.

The project has identified a marker for aphid resistance and identified aphid resistance lines using the marker.
Objectives include: Introgression of aphid resistance gene into known Striga resistant varieties; field trails for the new varieties and assessment for seed certification; promotion of the new varieties to farmers, identification of the variety of Striga in northern Ghana.

CRASS / ITRA, Kara, Togo

Research Title: "Sifting of the accessions of cowpea for resistance to Striga in Togo / Assessment of cowpea varieties resistant to Striga gesnerioides using farmer participatory research in Togo".
PI: Béré Tchabana.

Objectives include; identifying high yielding and Striga gesnerioides resistant varieties using farmer's participatory variety selection; raise awareness among farmers with regard to the performance of Striga-resistant cowpea varieties adapted to local conditions; promote the team work of researchers, and developers for a better mechanism of technology transfer; produce quality Striga-resistant cowpea seeds to satisfy cowpea growers.

UAM, Makurdi, Nigeria

Research Title: "Genetic Improvement of cowpea for Striga resistance using molecular tools in Nigeria".
PI: Dr Lucky Omoigui.

The project has developed a number of Striga and Alectra resistant varieties two of which are being assessed for seed certification.
Objectives include: Identification of markers for Alectra, aphid and fusarium wilt resistance; introgression of aphid and fusarium wilt resistant genes into existing improved cultivars using MAS, conduct field testing of new resistant varieties, and traing of undergraduates and postgraduates in the application of molecular markers in cowpea breeding.

IRAD, Maroua, Cameroon

Research Title: "Strengthening National Capacity for the development of DNA markers and the application of Marker-Assisted Selection (MAS) in cowpea breeding for West and Central African sub-region".
PI: Sobda Gonné.

The project has identified Striga resistant varieties of cowpea and is crossing these with local varieties to produce new resistant lines for release to farmers
Objectives include: Development of new cowpea varieties for MAS with resistance to Striga; identification of markers associated with resistance to thrips and aphids; development of new varieties with resistance to thrips and aphids.