Cowpea demonstration day at Manga, Upper East Region

Cowpea demonstration

By: Emmanuel Akayeti

The Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has organized a Cowpea field day demonstration at Manga, in the Bawku Municipality of the Upper East Region.

The exercise brought about 70 women farmers together from Manga and its adjoining communities to help evaluate the validity of the Transgenic Songotrah variety.

The field day was to introduce to farmers the Transgenic BT Cowpea variety which is the latest technology developed by the CSIR-SARI. It was to get the farmers to appreciate the Transgenic Songotrah BT cowpea variety, which has gone through the confined field trial stage and is now being evaluated on farmers’ fields by CSIR-SARI for pre-release.

On the field were four varieties; the Wankai, Kirkhouse benga the Songotra which have been released and striving well with farmers except for the Transgenic Songotrah (TS) which requires assessment by the farmers.

Cowpea demonstration

In an interview with Correspondent Emmanuel Akayeti at Manga, a Research Scientist with the CSIR-SARI, Dr. Salim Lamini stated that the Transgenic variety requires only two rounds of spray to combat the pod borer disease which is so destructive to Cowpea, unlike the other types which require around four to six rounds of sprays before harvesting which accumulates high pesticide residue on the cowpea.

Dr. Lamini indicated that during the development stage, the farmers attested to the quality of the Transgenic and accepted the fact that, the transgenic cowpea needs only two sprays to harvest and almost no incident of Maruca (Pod borer).

An Entomologist with the CSIR-SARI Manga Mugtari Dr. Zakaria stated that CSIR-SARI has come out with many technologies to help farmers to increase food security and to support their families’ income. He said the main problem that hinders food production in the case of BT Cowpea is the Pod Borer (Maruca vitrata).

Dr. Zakaria indicated further that, the pod borer is so destructive that can render a total production yield of about eight percent especially BT Cowpea if not controlled with chemicals. He stated that the dire consequence of the excess use of the syntactic chemical, cannot be underestimated as it, destroys the ecology, and is harmful to the farmer.

It is against this backdrop he added, that scientist of the CSIR_SARI has developed the Transgenic Songotrah BT variety which requires just rounds of sprays and the farmer is good to go

Hajia Adisa Shaibu, a farmer from Manga said that the Transgenic Songotrah variety is more profitable as it requires only two rounds of sprays before harvesting as compared to four to six sprays in other varieties.

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