Einelgazal: An early-maturing, high-yielding cowpea variety for the marginal rainfed areas of North Kordofan | Crop Management (Crop Varieties)
Low and unreliable rainfall, terminaldrought, late maturity and the low yield potential of local varieties are majorcrop production constraints in the rainfed areas of western Sudan. Moreover,subsistent farmers have problems of food supply in the period between planting(onset of rainy season) and harvesting, which may last for three months. Thestatus of food supply is further aggravated by repeated crop failures inpreceding seasons. In the past, farmers cultivated small areas in their homeyards or nearby farms by early maturing crop varieties as a coping strategy tonarrow the hunger period (hunger period). Thus early maturing cultivars areimportant elements of food security and sustainable crop production.
Einelgazal has been tested, and was officiallyreleased in 2000 for the marginal rainfed areas of North Kordofan State,located between latitudes 11Â° 15â€™ and 16Â° 45â€™N, and longitudes 27Â° 05â€™ to 32Â°E,with an annual rainfall that ranges between 50 mm on the northern border, andless than 450 mm on the southern border (Figure 1.2). The length of the growingseason varies from about one month or less in the north to about three monthsin the south. The length of the growing season at Elobeid Research Station inthe northern border does not exceed 75 days (Figure 1.3). Rains occur betweenJuly and October (humid months), peaking in August. Variation in rainfallamount and distribution is common within and between seasons. The average dailytemperature ranges between 10oC and 35Â°C, with an annual variation of 15Â°C.April, May and June are the hottest months of the year. December, January andFebruary are the coolest. Wind direction changes according to season;north-east in winter and south-west in summer. Soils in the area arepredominantly stabilised sand dunes locally known as goz. These soils are verydeep, coarse to fine sand with low organic matter.
Einelgazal is an erect type cowpeavariety with synchronous flowering, medium seed size (19 g/100 seed), roughseed coat, and black eye (see Figures 1.7, 1.8 and 1.9). Einelgazal producedstable high grain yield of 596 kg/ha as compared to 215 kg/ha of the localvariety, and matured earlier than the cultivated local varieties by almost 55days. Evaluated in 60 on-farm trials over 5 years at three locations in Sheikanlocality in North Kordofan State, Einelgazal produced 363 kg/ha and reachedphysiological maturity in 60â€“70 days while the local landrace (Baladi) producedonly 85 kg/ha and reached physiological maturity in 87â€“117 days. Thesecharacteristics render Einelgazal the best cowpea variety to be considered forpromotion in the marginal rainfed areas of Western Sudan characterised by shortrainy season and frequent terminal droughts. Einelgazal was recommended to begrown in the marginal rainfall areas of North Kordofan. However, it can also begrown in similar arid and semi-arid regions of ECA.
The technology has been recommended forsmall scale subsistent producers who constitute 80% of the population that earntheir livelihood from agriculture in the traditional rainfed areas of westernSudan. These are integrated farmers who grow crops, raise animals, especiallysmall ruminants, and manage acacia tree orchards for gum Arabic production(agroforestry). The technology has been promoted and disseminated throughdemonstration plots, farmer field schools, extension campaigns, field days, TVshows and radio messages. Farmerâ€™s capacity to realise the benefit of thetechnology is the most critical and essential factor for successful promotionand wider adoption of the technology. This can be achieved through proper fielddemonstration, farmer field schools, and extension campaigns. The positive roleof progressive farmers and local leaders should be realised and highlighted asfocal points for fast technology dissemination. Incorporating farmers into acredit system could enhance input accessibility and technology dissemination.
Small-scale farmers started cultivatingEinelgazal because of its earliness and good performance. AlAwad and Hall(2002) reported that 500,000 farmers were provided with seeds of Einelgazal in2001 in North Kordofan, South Kordofan and North Darfur states. Many farmersreported that they have gained high additional income by growingthe crop twice, especially in areas with longer rainfall duration. The ArabSudanese Seed Company distributed about 19, 26, 30 and 3 tons in 2005/2006,2006/2007, 2007/2008, and 2008/2009 cropping seasons respectively.
Cowpea is a crop grown mostly by womenin areas where the average annually cultivated farm size does not exceed 1050mÂ². During dissemination of the technology, special consideration was given towomen participation by at least 25% in demonstration plots, farmer fieldschools and field days. Results of questionnaires conducted in North and SouthKordofan States during field days in 2009, indicated that the technologyattracted only 26.6% of males as compared to 73.3% of females.
The main elements of productiontechnology for high yield for the cowpea variety Einelgazal in the marginalrainfed areas include: planting 2 seeds per hole, seed dressing by Apronstar atthe rate of 3 g per kg of seed, optimum planting (early to mid-July) dependingon rainfall and soil moisture, 50 cm intra-row and 25 cm inter-row spacing,first weeding after two weeks from planting, harvesting after 60 days from planting.
Besides its extra earliness as a droughtescape mechanism, Einelgazal, as a leguminous crop, could also be intercroppedwith cereals to restore soil fertility and minimise pests and disease incidence(IPM). If cultivated early, at the beginning of July, Einelgazal could be growntwice, thus playing an important role in family economy and food security. Thepossibility of extending its cultivation in areas with high risks of cropfailure is very high.
Name and address of the organisation:
Agricultural Research Corporation (ARC),
P. O. Box 126;
Nameand address of presenter:
Dr Elgailani Adam Abdalla;
P. O. Box 429;
Nameand address of key scientist:
Dr Hassan Osman A. ElAwad;
Nameand address of key partners:
Mekki M Abdalla,
P. O. Box Ministry of Agriculture AnimalWealth and Irrigation,
North Kordofan State,
Elawad HOA and Hall AE. 2002.Registration of â€œEinelgazalâ€ cowpea. Crop Science 42:1745â€“1746.
ElAwad HOA. 2000. â€œEinelgazalâ€ a newearly maturing cowpea cultivar for the sandy rain fed areas of Western Sudan.National Agriculture and forestry, Khartoum, Sudan.