Cowpea Biotech Discussion at the World Cowpea Research Conference

The ongoing (29 September till 1 October) World Cowpea Research Conference in Senegal features several researches on the use of crop biotechnology in improving cowpea – one of the most important staples in Africa. Cowpea is considered as one of agriculture's oldest legumes used as protein source of people and livestock. Its hardiness in hot and dry climates make it a fitting substitute for rice and corn in the face of climatic change that would surely affect these primary staple crops.

The conference features new and innovative approaches to deal with pests and weeds that attack cowpea varieties at every stage of their life cycle, and with the voracious weevils that devour dried cowpeas, said Christian Fatokun, a cowpea breeder at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). There will also be scientific reports on the latest developmental efforts in the use of biotechnology to develop insect resistant genetically modified cowpea that will fend off attack by Maruca or bean pod borer and the reddish-brown beetle (the cowpea weevil) that devours cowpea grain stocks that render the food inedible.

Presentations on how to increase public awareness and appreciation of cowpea are hoped to attract more support in the conduct of cutting-edge research for the crop's improvement. The conference is organized by IITA in cooperation with the Institut Senegalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA), the Dry Grain Pulses Collaborative Research Support Programme (Pulse-CRSP), and Purdue University.

See the original news release at for more detail.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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