Common Indian Name (Hindi): Lobia
- The Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), also known as 'black eyed bean', is one of several species of the widely cultivated genus Vigna.
- This is one of the most important food legume crops in the semi-arid tropics covering Asia, Africa, southern Europe and Central and South America.
- The value of cowpea lies in its high protein content, and ability to tolerate drought.
- As a legume, cowpea also fixes atmospheric nitrogen, allowing it to grow on, and improve poor soils.
- All the parts of cowpea that are used for food are nutritious, providing protein, vitamins, and minerals.
- The protein in cowpea seed is rich in the amino acids, lysine and tryptophan, compared to cereal grains; however, it is deficient in methionine and cystine when compared to animal proteins. Therefore, cowpea seed is valued as a nutritional supplement to cereals and an extender of animal proteins.