AATF plans commercialisation of pod borer resistant cowpea
The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) is working towards commercialising and making the Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) cowpea available to farmers.
AATF is carrying out the pod borer resistant cowpea project to develop cowpea varieties that are resistant to attacks from maruca, a pest that inflicts severe damage to cowpea on farmer’s fields.
The project aimed to boost cowpea productivity and utilisation in sub-Saharan Africa through technological interventions and introduction of BT traits into farmer’s varieties which transfers resistance to the pod for improved varieties.
It is being implemented in three Africa countries, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Ghana.
Executive Director of AATF, Dr Denis Kyetere, disclosed this Monday during the organisation’s annual review and planning meeting of the Pod borer resistant cowpea project in Accra, Ghana.
He said the commercialisation of the PBR would be different from what might be used for conventional seeds, adding “besides registration, certification and variety release of the product, there are requirements for regulatory approvals by governments in the target countries for food, feed and environmental safety.”
Kyetere said there are serious implications if PBR is mixed with conventional cowpea, adding that the organisation will embark on intensive training on stewardship with seed companies and out growers before the release of the product to farmers.
Declaring the meeting open, Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Dr Musheibu Mohammed-Alfa, commended AATF for bringing innovative technologies in agriculture for sustainable use by small holder farmers across Africa.
He said key projects being carried out by AATF like the Pod borer resistant cowpea , developing nitrogen efficient and water efficient varieties, salt tolerant rice and drought tolerant rice will help improve nutrition and food security for millions of Africans.