Biotech Updates

High Yielding Cowpea Seeds Boost Production in Mali

July 13, 2012

The West African Seed Alliance's (WASA) seeds project in Mali, a program supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is seen to be a successful initiative to increase local production and access to high quality-certified seeds of major staple crops for farmers in the country.

The project started three years ago when WASA trained women in Mali to become seed producers to improve their income and to help fill the yield gap in the farms by buying their locally-produced seeds. The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Malian National Agricultural System gave them a high-yielding cowpea seed variety while WASA's regional office in Mopti, Mali provided technical support in soil, water, and pest management.

After three years, an average seed producer who participated in the training is reported to drastically increase yield with high quality cowpea seeds from two bags of 100 kg to eight bags of 100 kg per harvest. The said project will be reinforced in five other target African countries namely, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.

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