The Federal Government, in its persistent effort to improve the agricultural sector, has revealed its plans to dispense Genetically Modified cowpea seed known as PBR to farmers in Nigeria, by December.
Executive Director, Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Professor Ibrahim Umar Abubakar made this disclosure while addressing newsmen, during the demonstration of the cowpeas at Bagadawa village in Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area of Kano State.
Prof. Abubakar in his remarks noted that the seeds were developed to help farmers improve their production and reduce the cost of production of cowpea.
He also pointed that the seed resists Maluca, an insect that damages cowpea, and had been recognized for its high yield production as it can produce up to four tons of cowpea per acre
In his words, “The seed can be harvested within 35 days. With the coming of this seed, the federal government has succeeded in addressing the problem of Maluca insect that is posing a serious threat to cowpea farmers in the country. The seed needs only two sprays of insecticide from planting to harvesting period.”
On his part, the Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Professor Garba Sharubutu, said that food security won’t be achieved in Nigeria if they don’t adopt and practice new technology in their farming activities.
“This new technology could be meaningless if farmers in the country fail to embrace what the new technology developed. I, therefore, urge farmers in the country to accept the modified cowpea seed to enable the country to achieve its desired objective in respect of food security.
“Our farmers have been spending a lot of money on cowpea production, especially on insecticide, fertilizer and other supportive materials, and at the end of harvesting period, they go home with few tons of cowpea,” he said.
Malam Sani Musa, who is a farmer, adopted the modified seeds on his farm and urged his fellow farmers to adopt the seed saying, it will improve production.
“I was given three varieties of cowpea seeds namely PBR, Sampea 10 and Sampea 16. So, I planted them with the old seed I used to plant every year, 150/73 on different farms and I sprayed insecticide on them twice as directed by the experts. In the end, I have noticed that the modified seeds yielded better than the others,” he said.