Fed Government releases PBR cowpea for commercial use
The Federal Government has released a Pod Borer Resistant variety of cowpea for commercial use to boost crop production in the country.
Acting Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency, Professor Alex Akpa, disclosed this at a public presentation of the crop in Abuja.
“This was after 10 years of laboratory works and on-field trials. The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) has developed first genetically modified food crop,” he added.
According to him, Nigeria still remains the largest producer of beans, which is under threats as the country was experiencing supply deficit of over 500,000 tonnes.
Also, Executive Director of the institute, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, said IAR had developed, registered and released 19 varieties of cowpea for farmers in the country.
He added that Nigeria is the leading producer and consumer in the world, adding that its demand outweighed the annual production due to high appetite of the people.
“The low yield of the crop is due to many constraints and pests, particularly pod boring insects, which cause about 90 percent of the loss. We use modern technologies to augment the conventional means,” he remarked.