October 26, 2020Agric DigestNews
The Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) has said that Nigeria could earn up to $638 million from the export of its genetically modified Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) grain, the insect Pod-Borer Resistant (PBR) cowpea.
Country Director of OFAB, Rose Gidado, made this known in a recent interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.
The Federal Government in December 2019 had approved the commercial release of the PBR cowpea to Nigerian markets.
The Maruca Vitrata-resistant cowpea variety was developed by the Institute of Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, through a research journey that took 10 years.
Gidado explained that the OFAB’s prediction is based on a study by the Programme for Biosafety Systems (PBS) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) under the Biosafety and Biotechnology Rapid Assessment and Policy Project (BioRAPP).
The country director also pointed out that the adoption of PBR cowpea will enhance the output of Nigerian farmers and improve the economy.
However, AgroNigeria in a special report in the October issue of its monthly magazine gathered that the new cowpea variety has not been widely accepted among Nigerian cowpea farmers.
In the report, of 35 farmers interviewed across the North-West, North-East, and North-Central geopolitical zones, only nine have heard of and just two have used the new variety.
Instead, the report found out that older varieties such as SAMPEA-2, 3, 7, and 14, among others, previously released by the IAR are still the popular varieties used by most cowpea farmers.