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Nigeria to generate N48bn annually from genetically modified cowpea

Nigeria to generate N48bn annually from genetically modified cowpea

Nigeria has the potential to generate an annual income of N48bn from the new variety of genetically modified cowpea, Mohammed Ishaku, Executive Director, Institute of Agricultural Research, said on Wednesday.

 

Ishaku speaking at a press conference on the commercialization of the modified cowpea also known as SamPea20-T, in Abuja, said that 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 are grown annually. Nigeria is the first in the world to release cowpea that is resistance to pest and disease,” he said.

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“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.

 

Ishaku further explained 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.

 

Alex Akpan, Acting director-general, National Biotechnology Management Agency, in his remark, said adopting biotechnology in food production was key to ensuring food sufficiency and security in Nigeria.

 

“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.

 

 

Akpan stressed that research and development remained critical to the national goal of achieving hunger-free society, adding that more farmers and scientists were being trained to promote genetic modification of other Agricultural produce.

 

Olumide Olugbade, representing the Executive Director, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, said that Nigeria should leverage on biotechnology to boost its agricultural production as well as promote security.

 

“Biotechnology products are safe for consumption. We will deepen efforts to move into other areas so we can achieve the sufficiency we desire,” he said.