The Role of Cowpea in Tackling Food Insecurity in Afro-Colombian Communities

Maia Monique Payne, Tennessee State University


The 1996 World Food Summit defined food security as physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food by all people at all times. In many areas of the world this is not the case. Particularly, in the southern Valle del Cauca and northern Cauca regions of Colombia, the Afro-Colombian people experience persistent structural and historical discrimination which inhibits their ability to be food secure. Their lack of access to food security results in Afro-Colombian women and children being affected with issues related to having low iron intakes in their diets. Biofortified varieties of cowpea, an inexpensive legume, can be introduced into the regular diets of Afro-Colombian communities as a viable iron-rich alternative to other commonly eaten beans. Using ICP analysis, selected USDA cowpea accessions and beans commonly eaten in Afro-Colombian communities were tested for available iron (Fe) content to see if cowpeas were a better source of Fe. GIS analyses were utilized to create a series of maps and to perform a site-suitability study to see where there are potential areas for cowpea growth and availability. Cowpeas were proven to have a greater mean Fe content compared to the commonly eaten beans. Predominately Afro-Colombian communities were shown to have disproportionate access to supermarkets, fresh and nutritional goods, and the central region of southern Valle del Cauca was shown to be the most suitable area for cowpea growth.

Subject Area

Environmental science|Geographic information science|Agriculture

Recommended Citation

Maia Monique Payne, "The Role of Cowpea in Tackling Food Insecurity in Afro-Colombian Communities" (2023). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI30317582.