Vigna subterranea (also known by its common names: Bambara nut, Bambara-bean, Congo goober, earth pea, ground-bean, or hog-peanut) is a member of the family Fabaceae. The plant originated in West Africa (the Bambara people are found in southern Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Senegal). Vigna subterranea ripens its pods underground, much like the peanut (also called a groundnut). They can be eaten fresh or boiled after drying.
Origin and cultivation
The origin of the Bambara groundnut is West Africa and the region of cultivation is Sub-Saharan Africa's warm tropics. Bambara nut grows well any where groundnut (peanut) grows and so is vastly present from Kwara state and throughout the northern parts of Nigeria.
Bambara groundnut represents the third most important grain legume in semi-arid Africa. “It is resistant to high temperature and is suitable for marginal soils where other leguminous crops cannot be grown”. In addition, it makes very little demand on the soil and has a high nutritive value with 65% carbohydrate and 18% protein content. For these reasons it is not prone to the risk of total harvest failure even in low and uncertain rainfall regions. "Due to its high protein value it is a very important crop for people in Africa Despite its nutritional value, it is still considered as one of the prioritized neglected and underutilized species in Benin.
The seeds are used for food and beverage because of their high protein content and for digestive system applications. The entire plant is known for soil improvement because of nitrogen fixation. In West Africa, the nuts are eaten as a snack, roasted and salted, processed into cake, or as a meal, boiled similar to other beans.
In South Eastern Nigeria, particularly in Enugu, the dried bambara beans are ground into a fine powder, then mixed with palm oil, water and pumpkin leaves and then poured into banana leaf wraps or 1 litre cellophane bags before being boiled into a kind of cakey pudding to make "okpa", a common breakfast food in Enugu, Nsukka and Ngwo Nigeria. In Niger State and upper Kwara state the Nupes and Yorubas have a delicacy called Sagidi, a meal sold in every Friday and Saturday market. Just like Groundnut Cake (Kulikuli cake), the Bambara nut is processed to Kangu cake starting from Kwara through northern Nigeria, Chad and Niger. During the rainy season in many parts of central Nigeria like Jos, the fresh bambara beans are cooked with their shells still on them. The beans are then eaten as a snack just like boiled groundnuts.
Optimal soils for Bambara groundnut production are sandy soils to prevent waterlogging. Optimal soil depth is between 50 and 100 cm, with a light soil texture. soil fertility should be low and soil pH is best suited between 5 and 6.5 and should not be lower than 4.3 or higher than 7.
The production is best suited between a latitude of 20° - 30°, i.e. the tropical wet and dry (Aw) and the subtropical dry summer (Cs) climate zones. Optimal temperature is between 19 °C and 30 °C. Temperatures below 16 °C and above 38 °C are not suited for the production of bambara groundnut. The bambara groundnut is very drought resistant. The minimal annual rainfall requirement is about 300 mm and optimal annual rainfall is between 750 mm and 1400 mm and should not exceed 3000 mm.
Bambara groundnut is mainly cultivated as intercrop, however the planting density varies between 6 and 29 plants per square meter. For woodland savannas of Côte d'Ivoire the highest yield is attainable with a plant density of 25 plants per square meter.
Since Vigna subterranea is usually intercropped, no fertilizer is applied. A yield of 1000 kg seed and 925 kg leaves remove 55.7 kg N, 26.2 kg K, 25.1 kg C, 7.8 kg P and 6.6 kg Mg. Since Bambara groundnut is a legume, phosphor is the most important nutrient. An application rate of 60 kg/ha of P2O5 is recommended for bambara groundnut in Yola, Adamawa State Nigeria.
|Production Year 2013 (Source FAOSTAT)||Area Harvested (Ha)||Yield (kg/ha)||Production (tonnes)|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||4,828||750||14,000|
Pest and diseases
Pest and diseases are not considered to be a serious problem for Vigna subterranea.
- Leaf spot (Cerscospora canescens and Phyllosticta voandzeia)
- Powdery mildew (Erysiphe sp.)
- Wilt (Fusarium sp.)
- Leaf blotch (Phomopsis sp.)
- Stem rot (Scleorotium rolfsii)
- Aphids (Aphis sp.)
- Bruchids (Callosobruchus sp.)
- Leaf hoppers (Hilda patruelis)
- Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne javanica)
- Parasitic plants (Alectra vogelii and Striga gesnerioides)
The growth cycle is between (min-max) 90–170 days and under optimal conditions the cycle is about 120–150 days to pod maturity. Flowers appear 40–60 days after planting. 30 days after pollination the pod reaches maturity and during another 55 days the seeds fully develop. Every 30 days they are produced again.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vigna subterranea.|
- "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species".
- "Vigna subterranea". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 15 December 2017.
- "Definition And Classification Of Commodities (Draft): 4. Pulses And Derived Products". Food and Agriculture Organization. 1994. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
- Hepper, FN (1963). "Plants of the 1957-58 West Africa Expedition II: The bambara groundnut (Voandzeia subterranea) and Kersting's groundnut (Kerstingiella geocarpa) wild in West Africa". Kew Bulletin. 16 (3): 395–407. doi:10.2307/4114681. JSTOR 4114681.
- Nichterlein, Karin. "Vigna subterranea". Ecoport. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- Ocran, V. K, (1998). Seed Management Manual for Ghana. Accra Ghana: MOFA.
- Yamaguchi, M (1983). World Vegetables. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
- Baryeh, E.A. (2001). "Physical properties of bambara groundnuts" (PDF). Journal of Food Engineering. 47 (4): 321–326. doi:10.1016/s0260-8774(00)00136-9. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
- Doku, E.V. (1995). Proceedings of the Workshop on Conservation and Improvement of Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranean (L.). Harare Zimbabwe: University of Ghana.
- Dansi, A.; R. Vodouhe; P. Azokpota; et al. (19 April 2012). "Diversity of the Neglected and Underutilized Crop Species of Importance in Benin". The Scientific World Journal. 2012: 1–19. doi:10.1100/2012/932947. PMC . PMID 22593712.
- "Data sheet Vigna subterranea". Ecocrop. FAO. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- Rassel, A (1960). "Voandzou, Voandzeia subterranea Thouars, and its cultivation in Kwango". Bull. Agric. Congo Belge. 51: 1–26. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- Kouassi, N’. J; I. A. Zoro Bi (2010). "Effect Of Sowing Density And Seedbed Type On Yield And Yield Components In Bambara Groundnut (Vigna subterranea) In Woodland Savannas Of Cote D'ivoire". Experimental Agriculture. 46: 99–110. doi:10.1017/S0014479709990494. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- Mkandawire, Ceasar H (2007). "Review of Bambara Groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) Production in Sub-Sahara Africa". Agricultural Journal. 2 (4): 464–470. doi:10.3923/aj.2007.464.470 (inactive 2018-09-21). Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- Toungos, M.D.; A.A. Sajo; D.T. Gungula (2009). "Recommended Fertilizer Levels on Bambara Groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L) Verde) in Yola Adamawa State, Nigeria". Agricultural Journal. 4 (1): 14–21. doi:10.3923/aj.2009.14.21 (inactive 2018-09-21). Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- "FAOSTAT". FAO. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- Bambara Groundnut -- Voandzeia subterranea (L.) Thouars
- Bambara Groundnut ... a Link from the Past and Resource for the Future
- "Vigna subterranea". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
- Vigna subterranea in West African plants – A Photo Guide.
- Bambara groundnut - NUS Community, Bioversity International