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
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...