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The federal government is to release the Genetically Modified cowpea seed known as PBR to farmers in December this year, the Executive Director, Institute for Agricultural Research at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Professor Ibrahim Umar Abubakar, said.

Addressing newsmen during a demonstration of the modified cowpea at Bagadawa village in Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area of Kano State yesterday, Professor Abubakar said the seed was developed to help farmers reduce the cost of production of cowpea and improve their production.

Professor Abubakar explained that the modified seed is resisting Maluca, an insect known for damaging cowpea, noting that the developed seed had been identified with high yield as it produces four tons of cowpea per acre.

He said, “the seed can be harvested within 35 days. With the coming of this seed, the federal government has succeeded in addressing the problem of Maluca insect that is posing a serious threat to cowpea farmers in the country. The seed needs only two sprays of insecticide from planting to harvesting period.”

On his part, the Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Professor Garba Sharubutu, said Nigeria cannot achieve food security without adopting new technology in its farming activities. He said, “this new technology could be meaningless if farmers in the country fail to embrace what the new technology developed.

Therefore urge farmers in the country to accept the modified cowpea seed to enable the country to achieve its desired objective in respect of food security. “Our farmers have been spending a lot of money on cowpea production, especially on insecticide, fertilizer and other supportive materials, and at the end of harvesting period, they go home with few tons of cowpea,” he said.

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Malam Sani Musa, a farmer, who planted the modified seeds on his farm, called on farmers to accept the seed, as according to him it could improve their production.

Musa said, “I was given three varieties of cowpea seeds namely PBR, Sample 10 and Sample 16. So, I planted them with the old seed I used to plant every year, 150/73 on different farms and I sprayed insecticide on them twice as directed by the experts.

In the end, I have noticed that the modified seeds yielded better than the others.” The farmer, therefore, appealed to other farmers across the country to embrace the modified seeds, saying it would add value to their farming activities.

Source: Daily Trust

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