Wild vigan, vigna is a pantropical genus of plants grouping more than 81 species,of which about 54 are reported to be indigenous in Africa (marechal et al. 1978). The species V. unguiculata (L.) walp., which include cowpea and its wild relatives belongs to the subgenus Vigna, section Catiang.

IITA genebank holds in the seedbank a total collection of 1871 accessions consisting of 54 species of cowpea wild relatives from 62 countries across the globe.

These collections are conserved both in the medium (5°C) and long (-20°C) term cold stores and are been characterized and screened for important agronomic traits for cowpea genetic improvement. These germplasm are available for agricultural research for humanity.