Some farmers in Nyakpala in the Northern Region have opted for Biotech (Bt) Cowpea or Genetically Modified (GM) Cowpea, due its ability to withstand the most deadly pests that destroy cowpea in the area.
The farmers say they witnessed high yields due to the strength of the Bt Cowpea against the Maruca Pod Borer pest as compared to their traditional cowpea known to them.
The Savannah Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is currently conducting trials of cowpea that can stand against the Maruca Pod Borer pest, which has been described as one of the dangerous pests causing damages to cowpea crops in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.
This insect is very difficult to be controlled with normal insecticide and it causes farmers a lot,”the Principal Investigator and the leader of the project, Dr. Mumuni Abdulai told the Daily Express.
“The centre got some cowpea after they have been transformed in Australia. About seven different cowpea varieties were successful and these were introduced in Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso for testing.”Dr. Adbulai told the Daily Express that after testing the seven varieties some of them were resistant, but the most resistant to Maruca Pod Borer pest among them was called 709A.
This was done between 2009 and 2013.According to him, the 709A was selected alongside non-Bt cowpea varieties known by the farmers.“We took the gene from the 709A and put it into one of the non-Bt cowpea already grow by farmers in Ghana called Songotra.” Read more