Pulse Production, Consumption and Utilization in Nigeria within Regional and Global Context

  •  Nkechi P. Akah    
  •  Catherine N. Kunyanga    
  •  Michael W. Okoth    
  •  Lucy G. Njue    


Malnutrition, hunger, and poverty are still major challenges globally especially in Sub-Saharan Africa affecting most countries like Nigeria. Legumes play key roles in food and nutritional security, health, and income generation. This review highlights status of pulse production and consumption in Nigeria and need for improvement. The study involved in-depth desk review. Data sources include FAO Statistics and other publication sources. Cowpea is Nigeria’s major pulse accounting for 95.45% area and 97.55% of the pulse production in 2016-18. Nigeria is the leading global cowpea producer with 39% production in 2016-18. However, the cowpea area has been declining, with 30% loss at 3.5% yearly between 2006-08 and 2016-18. The production appreciated by 40% viewed from 1996-98 due to increase in yield; but, overall, Nigeria’s cowpea production is marked with fluctuations/stagnation. It, thus, imports to meet domestic demand. In contrast, cowpea area, yield and production received steady and remarkable positive growth in places like Niger (73% at 2.8%, 213% at 5.9%, and 428% at 8.7% annually, respectively). Per capita availability of pulses in Nigeria is over 10 times less than cereals’ and roots/tubers’; hence, pulses contribute poorly to daily calorie and protein intakes. They are mainly utilized as cooked bean and steamed/fried pastes. Low pulse consumption is seriously contributing to nutritional problems in developing countries like Nigeria. Diverse utilization, optimizing nutritional quality of the traditional dishes, and improving safety and acceptability of especially those sold as street food can enhance their consumption, production and contribution to nutritional security.

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