Researchers Inventing Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea For Africa – Ojoma Akor; DAILY TRUST

Cowpea, popularly called beans in Nigeria, is one of the country’s important food crops massively destroyed by a pest called pod borer or Maruca, which damage cowpea pods on farm fields thereby causing heavy losses to farmers and reducing cowpea productivity in the country and other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Prof. Mahammad Faguji Ishiyaku, a plant breeder, Nigeria’s annual consumption of cowpea runs to several millions of tons and constitute a greater percentage of the world’s consumption of cowpea.
Ishiyaku, who is also the Principal Investigator of the Pod-borer Resistant Cowpea (PBR) Project, Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, said even though Nigeria is the largest producer, she is also the largest consumer making the country have an annual national grain demand deficit of over half a million tons, as the excess of 600, 000 metric tons grains is needed.
Experts say the average yield loss reported as a result of Maruca infestation on cowpea runs to as much as 70 to 80 percent. Some farmers resort to spraying with insecticides with the attendant health hazards; but others farmers cannot afford the spray as a result of the cost implication.

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