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The Social Construction of Cowpea Variety Development in Ghana: What is Missing?

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: This paper investigates how cowpea variety development has been organized over the past 20 years in Ghana using the concept of “Relevant Social Groups” and suggests possibilities of reconstructing cowpea variety designs to meet market demand dynamics. To a large extent, small-scale farmers’ interpretative meanings of what an improved cowpea should be, which are tied to their needs, are addressed in the varietal development process but the same cannot be said for traders, processors and consumers. We conclude that technology utilization informs new design and plays an integral part in constructing demand. Therefore cowpea breeding activities in Ghana should be organized not only around production but also around the dynamics in market demand. Structural constraints to participation among “Relevant Social Groups” with respect to resources, funding and power issues need to be addressed to ensure effective participatory varietal development.

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