Cowpeas in Haiti

Hi. In the Echo library I found a document about cowpea trials in Haiti. They found IT87D-885, IT87D-879-1, IT87D-670-2, and IT86D-444 to be the best varieties. They got seed from IITA. Does anyone know how to get seed from IITA? Or is there a source in the US for these improved cowpea varieties? Thanks,

I have had luck with almost all the varieties that will grow in the southern MS area. We don’t get as hot here in Nicaragua and rainfall isn’t the same but cowpeas work well here. My biggest problem is getting people to try them. As I help furnish food for a group they will eat them and tend to like them. This is in a culture that would trade black beans for half the amount of red beans.

You might start from:
You might want to import them to the US first and then take them to Haiti. (International shipping to Haiti can be difficult) To get them into the US you’ll need an import permit:

Cowpea leaves are also edible and produce more protein faster than waiting for seed production. You’d generally want to use forage varieties, like Red Ripper or the new Ace variety:
for better leaf production.
Note: it is available in French and Spanish as well as English (Unfortunately not Haitian Creole…yet?)

I believe I had obtained those seeds by emailing IITA. Looking at their website now, it seems there is a more established way to request seeds from them.

Start by finding the following web page:

On the resulting page, click on the word “accessions.” Alternatively, copy/paste the following into your browser:

You should now see a list of collections. Click on the one for cowpea. At the top, right-hand corner of the resulting page, there is a search bar. Try typing in: IT87D-885

Doing so should bring up a “passport data” page with all the info on that accession. IT87D-885 appears as the cultivar name. If it is something you are interested in, click on the “Add to list” button on the top left side of the passport data page. Once you are finished adding to your list, click on “Cart” in the navigation bar at the top. That will show you the items on your list. At the bottom of that page, click on the “create order” button and follow the prompts.

You may want to see what is available in local markets there in Haiti as well. I recall planting something people in the Central Plateau called “pwa Novam” (something like that), which was a late-yielding variety with extensive vine growth that covered the ground well.

It would be interesting to hear updates as you obtains seeds and evaluate various cowpea varieties.

Tim Motis

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Thank you but I never heard of cowpeas

Welcome Rose! There are several names for cowpea in Haitian Creole, so here are some photos for identification. Southern pea or black-eyed pea are other English common names. Cowpeas can be bushing or vining and produce an edible green pod, edible green peas, edible dry peas, and edible leaves (these are all normally cooked before being consumed).

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Bonjou Rose,
Pwa enkoni, “unknown beans” is one name in Haitian Creole.