In the late 1980s, there was an increase in the production of cowpea by around US$650 million annually in Nigeria alone. This was largely due to the increases in area and yield of the crop. To take advantage of this boom, IITA partnered with the newly established International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
The partnership initiated a program to breed cultivars that are both fit for human consumption and fodder for livestock in the dry season.
The success of the dry-season dual purpose cowpea was immense. Farmers’ profits went up on average by 55%. Benefits included food security, cash income, and fodder, in periods where prices of cowpea peak and good-quality fodder is scarce.