Beans, popularly known as Cow pea is one of the most common food stuff in Nigeria and it can be made into a variety of delicacies.
However, it is one of the grains that suffer losses both on field and off field.
In some instances, postharvest losses can be very heavy as the insects attack the grains the moment they are stored after harvest.
Yield reductions caused by insects can be as high as 95%, depending on location, year, and cultivar.
The main pests during the growing period are the aphids while the primary insects causing losses to stored cowpeas in West Africa is the cowpea weevil.
Large quantities of Cow pea can be completely damaged. A single female weevil can reproduce herself 20-fold every 3-4 weeks. Harvested cowpea grains with a very light infestation will have a heavy infestation within 2-3 months. Farmers and grain merchants incur a lot of losses.
Although insecticides are widely available, farmers require expensive equipment and training for their use. The insecticides are expensive, polluting, and potentially dangerous to users. Consequently, many cowpea growers in Africa do not use insecticides because they cannot obtain them; they cannot afford them; they do not have the necessary equipment or they are not taught how to apply them properly.
Insecticides, especially the dust and gaseous forms are recommended for short-term storage. The product Actellic (2%) or Actellic super and Phostoxin gas are very helpful to the farmer, but they are expensive and may not be available everywhere.
For instance, Phostoxin is a fumigant that can kill humans and animals. In the light of the above, indigenous preservatives are urgently required which will be indigenous to poor resource farmers, consumers, and distributors