Not many legumes get entire pop-rap bands named after them, but the Black Eyed Peas aren’t just any pop-rap band, and the humble beans after which they named themselves (supposedly because they wanted something nourishing and healthy) aren’t just any legume. Welcome to the cowpea, aka the black eyed pea (Vigna unguiculata), one of Africa’s natural food gifts to the world. Domesticated nearly 4,000 years ago in Ghana, this bean is grown all over the world. And yet, astonishingly, it is still classified as “underutilised”. In this episode from his ongoing series on African Crops For The Future, Gus (the African Plant Hunter) shares some of the reasons he believes this plant has exceptional potential as a smallholder crop, and gives an insider tip on the plant part he thinks will one day make it world famous (spoiler alert – it’s not the bean!).
To see some of Gus’ other work on underutilised plants, check out: https://www.bio-innovation.org/