Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Executive Director, African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Dr. Dennis Kyetere, on Friday, said the foundation has spent $16 million through research institutions and Universities and capacity development for farmers on pod-borer resistant beans/cowpea for 8 million farmers in Nigeria, Malawi, Burkina Faso and Ghana.
Mr. Abu Umar, AATF’s Projects Communications Officer, while speaking on phone on the on-ongoing annual review meeting of stakeholders on seeds optimization at the International Institute for Trpoical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Oyo State, on the Confined Field Trials (CFTs) on behalf of Kyetere, said the project which started in 2008 with a budget of $20 million will begin the release seeds to farmers in the region in 2018.
According to Kyetere, the pod-borer resistant cowpea project which is being coordinated by AATF is a public private partnership has funding support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote technological interventions and research for that cowpea productivity and utilisation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
He said: “African farmers will soon have access to improved cowpea varieties that will lead to increase in yield with the development of Maruca resistant cowpea thanks to a public-private partnership project.
“The pod-resistant cowpea project has identified elite varieties and speedily advancing towards de-regulation and commercial release to farmers.
“These varieties are expected to reduce grain yield losses caused by the pod borer, maruca vitrata, as well as reduce the need for insecticidal sprays.”