Cowpea is regarded as the most important food grain legume in the dry savannas of tropical Africa, where it is been grown on more than 12.5million hectares of land
The traditional cowpea seeds planted by most African farmers suffer the effects of maruca pod borer which destroys the fruitful yield of the common farmer is now a fairy tale to the African farmer by the introduction of the maruca pod resistant seeds.
This maruca pod insects destroys farm produce and by extension incurs financial lost to both peasant and commercial farmers in Africa apart from setting back growth domestic income of the crops to African nation.
In bid to fight this threat, researchers and international organization on agriculture introduced a genetically modified organism (GMO) as the solution.
A GMO cowpea is maruca resistant crops certified by researchers across the globe which has great potentials to farmers who cultivate such produce.
Genetic transformation of cowpea with Bacillus thuringiensis genes will control pod-boring insects.
The annual review and planning meeting of pod borer resistant cowpea project in some African countries Nigeria inclusive, which was held in Alisa hotel in Accra Ghana, themed of towards commercialization.
The journalist that attended the annual review and planning meeting of pod borer resistant cowpea project in Ghana were sponsored by a nongovernmental organization base in United Kingdom Bioscience for farming in Africa B4FA.
B4FA is a not-for-profit initiative with no commercial interests set to raise the level of awareness and understanding of the potential for traditional and modern genetic techniques in improving agriculture. These include both conventional crop breeding and targeted genetic modification.
In view of This, the meeting was aimed at improving production of cowpeas seeds worldwide recorded the attendance of researchers from both Africa and international community also seed companies’ farmers, journalists, and international donors among others were present.
One of the seed companies at meeting Maina Seed Company from Nigeria believes the technology was developed to help cowpea farmers who suffer the devastating effect of maruca pest to have a bumper harvest hence improve the income of farmers and improve seed companies in African countries.
‘it is obvious every farmer in Africa who cultivate cowpea knows how much he lost as a result of maruca’ representative of Maina Seed Company Auwalu Balarabe Wudil Said.
Managing director Auwalu balarabe wudil further stressed that the seed companies are well informed and supported, by the Nigerian ministry of agriculture with agronomies and scientist who makes the best of this seed companies and could be regarded as the best seed companies in Africa.
“Prior to the intervention, farmers were reluctant to buy seed from companies, as they are not sure of its efficacy and genuine but with the intervention of the minister of agriculture who commissioned the seed companies to produce certified seeds by giving all the seed companies in Nigeria the necessary support and buying all the seeds after production”.
“Although before then most farmers don’t know the taste of honey so they find it difficult to accept, the federal government made it sample with some of the farmers, by giving a sample to selected farmers to taste on their farms, ten million farmers where targeted every year, which as well the number increases year in year out, with the idea that if the farmers uses the certified seed they will see the result the efficacy and yields and this will make them patronize the product”.
With the current experiment farmers now are more aware of this seeds
Meanwhile fake seeds which bores down to corruption, there is a measures are already in process for detecting this fake seeds.
He believes there are no any foreign companies that are taking over the seed companies in Nigeria; he says they have no quarrel with competitive competition.
In Nigeria in 2011 less than 30 companies were in Nigeria now with the intervention of the federal government there are more than hundred seed companies in Nigeria.
It all started by the minister of agriculture Professor Akinwunmi Adeshina who call all seed companies for a meeting and asked for they constraint all in an effort to ginger the seed companies in producing the best seed companies to revive the farming sector in Nigeria.
The minister supported these companies and gingered them to produce the seed later on bought all the seeds from these companies as more than 40 percent of the populations in Nigeria are farmers.
The whole idea is to make the Nigerian farmer realize that farming is a business to transgress from the peasant farming to commercial farming.