Crop Biotech Update

Nigerian Farmers May Soon Plant Bt Cowpeas

January 24, 2018

Nigeria is ready to become the first country to plant insect resistant cowpeas after almost 15 years of study.

"The cowpea growers have been very supportive. They like the GM crop. They have seen it perform and they are ready to grow it," said Issoufou Kollo Abdourhamane, manager of the Bt cowpea project at the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).

The field trials of Bt cowpeas started in 2009, and is expected to be approved in 2018. In 2015, Nigeria passed a law governing agri-biotech. Ghana and Burkina Faso are also conducting field trials.

According to T.J. Higgins, a scientist who helped develop the Bt cowpea at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Bt cowpea will increase the average farmers' yields from around 700 kg (~1,540 lbs) per hectare to one ton (~2,205 lbs).

Read the original article from the Genetic Literacy Project.