Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) Cowpea Variety to boost yields by 25-50%
Ene Okwanihe, Abuja
The Nigerian Cowpea (popularly known as beans) market is set to receive a boost in yields and income generation as the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) with some international partners under the coordination of the African Agricultural Technological Foundation (AATF), is set to release the Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) Cowpea Variety later today.
The new cowpea variety, SAMPEA 20-T, was developed by scientists at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and large-scale adoption of this variety can improve cowpea production by at least 20-50%.
It can drastically improve cowpea production in Maruca-endemic areas and in Nigeria most cowpea producing areas are highly infested by this destructive insect pest.
WHAT SAMPEA20-T MEANS TO NIGERIA
The SAMPEA 20-T that is resistant to the Pod Borer Pest Marucca is a variety that can produce higher yield than the conventional varieties, with reduced use of pesticides by farmers from eight times per cropping season to only two.
This means increased yield for Nigerian farmers that will contribute to addressing the national cowpea demand deficit of about 500,000 tones to improve the national productivity average of 350kg/hectare and most importantly, better healthy lives for farmers because of reduced use of pesticides.
Speaking in a virtual Media Conference the Executive Director of the AATF Dr. Dennis Kyetere disclosed that the release of the new variety is a huge milestone for Nigerian farmers and the country’s drive to achieve food security.
“This is a historic milestone for African farmers and especially for Nigeria’s food security, cowpea being a staple crop in the country and an important source of protein for over 200 million people”
Dr. Kyetere noted that the AATF believes that the use of appropriate technology can improve agricultural productivity in Africa.
“Whereas Africa has recorded some improvements over the years in as far as our agriculture is concerned, there remain a number of challenges which drive down productivity on the continent. While other continents are witnessing tremendous yield result per hectare, the case in Africa is still lagging around creating a conducive policy and regulatory environment to allow innovation to thrive”
Meanwhile Dr. Kyetere also seized the opportunity to announce his retirement from AATF while reeling from the achievement of the foundation during his 10 years tenure.