The Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) is a five-year project to improve cowpea storage in West and Central Africa. The goal of the PICS project is to have 50% of cowpea in West and Central Africa stored with hermetic method by 2012. The project is being implemented in 10 different countries in West and Central Africa, including Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Cameroon, Benin, Togo and Chad. The PICS project plans to disseminate the triple-layer sack technology in 28,000 villages in West and Central Africa.
The specific objectives are to:
- determine the best design for a one-piece commercially available triple-layer plastic cowpea storage bag;
- disseminate information on non-chemical cowpea storage methods to extension services, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and farmers;
- demonstrate the most effective cowpea storage methods in each village in the major cowpea areas of West and Central Africa; and
- develop supply chain for triple-layer plastic sacks to make the technology available to farmers and provide opportunities to local businesses.
This project is a joint collaborative effort involving various partners including international agricultural research centers, international development NGOs, National Agricultural Research Institutes, government agencies, local NGOs, private entrepreneurs, and farmers.
At Purdue University, four departments are involved: Agricultural Economics, Entomology, Food Science, and Youth Development and Agricultural Education. The PICS project is funded for $11.4 million by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation- www.gatesfoundation.org