ICOWPEA (Increasing COwpea value chain sustainability in West Africa through Product and procEss innovAtion), is a research project founded by Agropolis, Daniel & Nina Carasso and Cariplo foundations.
Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), also called black eyed pea, is a legume seed which is extensively cultivated and consumed in sub-Saharan Africa. It has a very interesting nutritional potential since it is rich in vitamins, proteins and fibres. In Benin, this legume seed is used in many traditional dishes that are appreciated by the consumers: abobo (stew), ata (fritters), moin-moin, adowè (puree), ataclè… Nevertheless, cowpea has two major disadvantages: it contains important quantities of antinutritional factors that induce digestive disorders and it needs a long soaking-cooking time which causes important micronutrient losses (including vitamins). Using a transdisciplinary approach, ICOWPEA project (2017-2019), aims at developing technological solutions through an innovation platform that facilitate the launch of cowpea-based innovative products having a high nutritional value and meeting local demand.