Gates Foundation Boosts Cowpea Farming in Nigeria

Gates Foundation Boosts Cowpea Farming in Nigeria

Ahmad Sorondinki in Kano

The Bill and Melinda Foundation is set to support the Nigerian government in the production of quality Cowpea seed as part of its contribution to assist farmers to produce more yields in the country.

Addressing newsmen at a project review workshop in Kano, yesterday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Senior Program Officer, Lawrence Kent, said with the capacity building initiative, Nigerian farmers would improve their yields reduce dependence on pesticides and improve their livelihood.

He said they were in Kano to support the pest resistance cowpea project which was an effort being led by the Nigerian government working with the African Agricultural Technology.

“This is to bring the new improved insect-resistant cowpea to Nigeria in collaboration with the Institute of Agricultural Research and other projects has led to the development of improved cowpea variety that is resistant to pests.

“As a result, farmers who planted this cowpea will be able to achieve high yield with less dependence on pesticides because the product itself is insect resistant,” he said.

He added: “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is proud to provide some financial support to the partners here in Nigeria who are now working to reproduce the seeds, both the foundation seed and the breeder seed, but most importantly the certified seed that is produced by eleven different Nigerian seed companies.”

In his remarks, Kano State Commissioner for Agriculture, Danjuma Mahmud, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Sadi Ibrahim, said the State was ready to embrace whatever outcome reached at the end of the workshop that would boost the production and enhancement of the cowpea seeds.

“I am here for the workshop on the pest-resistant cowpea seeds held here in Kano. It is a welcome development that this workshop is taking place here in Kano because it is an agrarian state. So anything that has to do with agriculture we are part and parcel of it.

“Whatever the outcome of this meeting we are going to take it and work with it. We will sensitise our farmers on the new technology developed through this variety so that they can be able to adopt the cultivation of that variety to increase food production and ultimately food security in the state,” Ibrahim explained.

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