Cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] is an important food legume. This crop considered as source of dietary protein is also used as a leafy vegetable in many African countries. Its usage as food and animal fodder is focused on food security and diminishing malnutrition particularly in marginal areas. Bruchid (Callosobruchus maculatus) is the most damaging, cosmopolitan pest of stored cowpea grains especially in the tropical region. Damage caused by this pest in cowpea is irreversible, resulting in significant loss of the grains. Several management approaches including physical barriers and biological or chemical methods are used for controlling bruchid in cowpea. Considering the qualitative and quantitative damages caused by bruchid to cowpea in storage, it is important to tackle the bruchid infestation. Development of cowpea lines resistant to bruchid is the most effective, eco-friendly and durable approach to limit the losses associated with this pest. This paper presents a review of the importance of cowpea grain, the extent of bruchid damage in cowpea and the possible control measures. The advances of conventional and molecular breeding in building resistance against this cowpea pest in cowpea are also discussed highlighting the knowledge gaps and their implications. The knowledge of the status of genetic advances will inform breeders and researchers in the development of bruchid-resistant cowpea lines.
Key words: Bruchid resistance, cowpea, genetic improvement, storage insect pest.
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