Emmanuel Gamson, GNA,
Nyankpala (NR), July 4, GNA – Researchers have come out with a Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea Project in Ghana to help cowpea farmers to fight the pest that infested their farms, to increase productivity.
The pod borer attacked cowpea farms and accounted for yield losses ranging from about 20 per cent to 80 per cent and the resistant cowpea would repeal the pests to help reduce the losses to the lowest level.
The goal of the project is to develop and deploy farmer-preferred, elite cowpea varieties with resistance to insect pests especially the pod borer that would substantially increase cowpea productivity and utilisation in Africa.
The project is coordinated by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote technological interventions that would enhance cowpea production in Africa.
Dr Mumuni Abudulai, Entomologist and Principal Investigator at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Institute – Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI), who disclosed this in an update on the project said the pod borer resistant gene had been put into some farmer preferred cowpea varieties through breeding and the efficacy of the trait had been evaluated in Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso.
He noted that the pod borer resistant cowpea would reduce the health hazards, which farmers were exposed to, when they used insecticides chemicals to control the pests and said with the development, farmers would have access to improved cowpea varieties that would lead to increased yield.
Dr Abudulai said the expected yield improvement would impact household, national and global food security and the country’s economic status and the report for commercial release of the cowpea was under evaluation and would therefore be out when regulatory procedures were completed.
Farmers who were trying the pod borer resistant cowpea on a confined field trials, confirmed the effectiveness of the cowpea and said it would boost the production of beans in Ghana.