Executive Director, Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Mohammed Ishaku, has said Nigeria stands a chance of generating an annual income of N48 billion from the new variety of genetically modified cowpea.
Ishaku, speaking at the press conference on the commercialization of modified cowpea also known as SamPea20-T, yesterday in Abuja, said the modified specie was developed as a way of curbing the recurrent losses incurred by farmers as a result of infestation by insects cowpea products.
“With this new modified cowpea, Nigeria can generate N48 billion if 100 hectares is grown annually. Nigeria is the first in the world to release cowpea that is resistance to pest and disease.”
“We are working through genetic enhancement specie to mitigate the constraint faced by our farmers as well as empower our farmers to compete favourably with other farmers in the world,” he said.
He, also, noted that the specie is safe for consumption as it does not have any adverse effect on health and environment, adding that genetic modification has been made to go through tests to prove its safety.
In his remark, Director General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Alex Akpa, encouraged Nigerians to adopt biotechnology to shore up food production and stated that those spreading falsehood on the use technology lacked knowledge on its efficacy.
“Cowpea has been attacked severely by insects and diseases which has caused over 90 percent production loss”.
“Globally, science and technology is what empowers other countries to leapfrog out of poverty and hunger, and Nigeria cannot be left out. This will help address the rejection of our local commodities at the international market,” he said.
Akpa stressed that research and development remain critical to the national goal of achieving a hunger-free society, adding that farmers and scientists are being trained to promote genetic modification of other agricultural produce.