The Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, has unveiled a pod borer-resistant variety of cowpea which could help farmers overcome challenges of the pest.
Farmers in the northern part of Nigeria have been battling with the pest, and infestations have resulted in drastic yield losses, low productivity per hectare and inability to make a profit.
Farmers record about 30 per cent loss to pod bores yearly, as estimated by my researchers in Nigeria.
The new variety, developed in partnership with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), is undergoing field trial for possible approval by the National Variety Release Committee.
After the approval, the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) would certify the seeds and farmers would have access to the variety.
Unveiling the variety at farmers’ field day at Bagawa village, Kano, the Executive Director of IAR, Zaria, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, explained that the pod borer- resistant cowpea would end hurdles in cowpea production.
The National Trial Manager, Prof. Ishiyaku Mohammad, explained that the journey that culminated in the field trials started in 2009 when IAR filed an application for permission to commence research into the genetically engineered beans.