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Nov 3, 2010

Nigeria's Cowpea Experiments - 2 Tracks (Traditional Hybridization & GM Bt Cowpeas)

On 3 November 2010, Uganda's Daily Monitor reported on two different efforts to improve cow peas - one using traditional hybridization in Uganda, the other using gene-engineering in Nigeria. 

Ugandan researchers at the National Semi-Arid Resource Research Institute (NaSARRI) at Serere in Soroti District are conducting traditional "hybridization" experiments on cow peas.  Their goal is to test resistance against a virus called cowpea aphid-borne mosaic virus.   The Ugandan project is funded by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).  The team is working closely with farmers from the districts of Soroti, Kumi, Apach as well as other research institutes such as the National Crop Resources Research Institute in Namulonge.

The Biotechnology cow pea in Nigeria is an initiative of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), which aims at promoting both classical plant breeding and gene-modified (GM).  Nigeria has developed bio-safety regulations and procedures that will allow testing of GM crops.   The scientists in Nigeria have already begun their field tests on GM cow peas that eradicate the pea pod borer, Maruca testulalis.

Major cowpea producing countries in Africa that would compete with Nigeria for cowpea exports are: be Niger, Mali, Uganda, Mozambique, Tanzania, and to some extent, Ethiopia, Gabon, Malawi and Togo.

For more see: Afedraru, Lominda.  "Scientists learn from Nigeria's BT cow peas." Daily Monitor (Uganda), 3 November 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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