By Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole
A professor of crop science, Dayo Phillip, has suggested that if Nigeria can adopt Pod Borer Resistance (PBR) cowpea (beans) with adequate water supply, the country can earn up to N12.7billion yearly from it.
He stated this over the weekend during a virtual meeting organised by Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology Nigeria (OFAB) to enlighten farmers, members of the public and update the media on the efforts of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) towards food security and sustainability by 2030.
In his explanations, he highlighted the value of PBR cowpea, which he said can resist pod borer insect that is devastating to cowpea
According to him, “One agricultural innovation was recently approved which is the SAMPEA-20-T cowpea variety. It protects cowpea from the devastating pod borer insect.
“Taking into account that agriculture employs 37 percent of the national labour force, adoption of PBR cowpea can, through higher production, potentially increase employment along the overall/entire value chain, reduce import dependency, import bill, increase households’ overall protein and nutrition status.”
The professor said cowpea is critical for food security and nutrition and relevant than ever to maintain and increase cowpea supply during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking earlier, the Deputy Director of NABDA/Country Coordinator, OFAB Nigeria chapter, Dr. Rose Maxwell Gidado, highlighted the importance and main objectives of the meeting, as to improve biotechnology reporting in the media, capacity building of the media practitioners, enlarge the scope of the biotechnology reasoning by the media practitioners and to update journalists on the status of agricultural biotechnology research in Nigeria.