Stakeholders engages local seed coy to multiply PBR cowpea

 Due to the high demand of the newly developed Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) Cowpea, Agriculture stakeholders have engaged indigenous seed companies for the multiplication and sales of PBR cowpea.

Speaking with journalists on Friday in Abuja, Mr Mohammed Umar, Trial Manager for PBR cowpea Nigeria, said three seed companies have been assessed and engaged to carry out the seed multiplication and distribution across the country

Umar, who is also the Head of Department, Plant Science, Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), ABU, Zaria, explained that engaging seed companies alone would not be the last stage.

“Engaging seed companies alone will not be the last stage; we want to also conduct promotion exercise and prioritise where cowpea is grown most that is about 24 states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“We are targeting not less than 2,000 farmers across the country, though this is not the final figure, it will be more than that because last year we demonstrated in 9 states including FCT and we were able to retrieve the seed from the farmers where we had post-harvest assessment for analysis.

“Very soon, we will inform the public where the seeds will be available,” he said.

He said the new cowpea variety would be monitored closely so as to maintain its purity of what is produced and avoid adulteration.

“Anything that comes new, we have to monitor it so that there is no adulteration, we want to maintain the purity of what we produced. This is because we have told farmers that the seed requires only two times spray.

“If farmers buy the adulterated seed and find out that it requires more than two times spray, then what we have worked hard to achieve will be wasted.

“We are working on the production guide and very soon it will be ready where each farmer that buys the seed will be issued the guide on how to produce for maximum yield.”

Umar said they are currently working on the additional Insect Resistant Management (IRM) plant, to see other ways to support the current gene; the variety was developed to extend the protection against the insect.

According to him, the new cowpea variety would increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as farmers will use less chemical and save the money for other businesses.

He added that with less chemical in Nigeria’s cowpea, the country would go back fully into cowpea export for revenue generation.

He said: “we have put some brown seed on the pipeline to develop, if we develop that, it will give farmers their preference and also the consumers.(NAN)