How a humble yet key legume sparked the seed of growth for ...

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How a humble yet key legume sparked the seed of growth for student

UKZN graduate develops a tougher variety of cowpea, an important protein source for millions in Africa

Senior reporter

Nelia Nkhoma Phiri never thought the intimate knowledge she gained as a child growing up in Zambia about the indigenous legume cowpea would one day help her earn a doctorate.

Phiri, who is set to become a University of KwaZulu-Natal PhD graduate this week, developed a variety of cowpea – an important protein source for millions in sub-Saharan Africa – that is resistant to diseases, drought and heat stress.

She spent time living with her grandmother, a subsistence farmer in rural Zambia whose favourite crop was this indigenous legume...

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