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September 24th, 2018 / Ghana News Agency

A team of researchers from the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, University of Cape Coast (UCC) has developed eight different varieties of cowpea as part of its “Cowpea Project”.
The varieties, which are more drought and disease resilient and high yielding are expected to be released to seed production companies for onward distribution to farmers in Ghana after it had been certified and approved by the National Seed Council (NSC).

The UCC Cowpea Project, which is funded by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), is being carried out in some communities in the Northern and Southern parts of Ghana.

Collaborators for the project are the Savannah Agricultural Research (SARI) and Plant Genetic Resources Research Institutes (PGRRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the University of Virginia, USA.
However, at the first stage of the certification and approval procedures, which was the inspection for release of the newly developed cowpea varieties, the committee members of National Varietal Release and Registration Committee by consensus, selected four of the eight varieties.

They would, thus, submit a report to the Director of Crop Service who would in turn prepare and present a dossier to the Minister of Agriculture and finally receive approval from the National Seed Council.

The Principal Investigator, Professor Aaron Asare, a Plant Biotechnologist at the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology explained that the team was motivated to develop and select striga, rust, viral and drought resistant as well as high yielding and early maturing cowpea genotype for farmer cultivation in wider agro-ecological zones in Ghana to meet consumer needs. Read more