500,000 Tonnes Deficit: AATF Launches New Cowpea Variety In NIgeria

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    The new cowpea variety, SAMPEA 20-T, developed by scientists at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in collaboration with international partners under coordination of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) will address NIgeria’s Cowpea deficit of about 500,000 tonnes.

    Executive Director of AATF,  Dr. Denis T. Kyetere,  expressed this in his address the at the virtual press conference on the pre-launch of PBR Cowpea in Nigeria on June 28, 2021.  

    “A transgenic cowpea variety known as SAMPEA 20-T that is resistant to the pod borer pest Marucca was released in Nigeria in December 2019 for commercial cultivation. 
    “The variety can produce higher yield than the conventional varieties, with reduced use of pesticides by farmers from eight times per cropping season to only two.
    “What this means is increased yield for Nigerian farmers that will contribute to addressing the national cowpea demand deficit of about 500,000 tonnes to improve the national productivity average of 350kg/hectare,” he said.

    Today we are particularly excited to be preparing to launch the PBR Cowpea that I mentioned earlier. 
    The new cowpea variety, SAMPEA 20-T, was developed by scientists at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in collaboration with international partners under our coordination at AATF.
    Large-scale adoption of this variety can improve cowpea production by at least 20-50%.  It can drastically improve cowpea production in Maruca-endemic areas and in Nigeria most cowpea producing areas are highly infested by this destructive insect pest. 
    He announced that after laboratory and field works involving confined and nationwide trials, the AATF will officially launch the Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) Cowpea Variety on Tuesday in Nigeria. 
    “This is a historic milestone for African farmers and especially for Nigeria’s food security, cowpea being a staple crop in the country and an important source of protein for over 200 million people. 
    According to Kyetere, the session focused on leveraging agricultural technology to address farming challenges in Africa. 
    “We are here today to share with you some pertinent progress we have recently witnessed in the African agricultural context.

    “As you all know, African farmers continue to face several farming challenges ranging from the impact of climate change, pest and disease infestation, poor soil fertility, among others, that have greatly reduced agricultural productivity at farm levels. 
    “Agriculture is their best opportunity to secure a more promising future for our farmers, but many of them remain impoverished because, unlike farmers in other parts of the world, they lack consistent access to targeted, affordable agricultural innovations that would allow them to prosper,” he said.
    The Director explained that since its inception, AATF and its partners have been working to reverse this scenario for a prosperous and food secure Africa.  
    “We have shown how progress is possible when companies, governments, NGOs, researchers, and farmers work together to unleash technology that targets specific production challenges.
    “In recent years, we have seen technological advancement towards enhancing productivity of key staple crops including maize, rice, cowpeas, and cassava, What has clearly emerged is that with technology use, there is a significant difference in the crop performance and farmer gains. Allow me to briefly highlight some key interventions we have rolled out to tackle farming challenges in Africa:
    “Most importantly, better healthy lives for farmers because of reduced use of pesticides,” he added.

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