The permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, has said Nigeria and Africa depend on cowpea (beans) to get a daily dose of their nutritional value.
He made this known when he received a delegation from Ghana on a study tour on how Nigeria deregulated pod-borer resistant cowpea, led by a representative of Africa Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) West Africa, Dr. Onyekachi Francis Nwankwo.
He informed the delegation that Nigeria and Africa have a huge population that depend on beans daily for their source of plant protein and, over the years, farmers battled with various insect pests of beans that impacted their livelihoods negatively.
He pointed out that the deliberate attempt by scientists and their collaborating partners has resulted in the release of the cowpea variety which will continue to impact positively on farmers’ livelihood, adding that the high yield performance of the pod borer variety has resulted in high demand for seeds by farmers is a testimony of its acceptability in the country.
A statement by the ministry’s director of information and signed by Ezeaja Ikemefuna said the ministry has the mandate to make Nigeria a net provider of food to the global community through the promotion of agricultural development and management of natural resources to achieve sustainable food security, enhance farmer income and reduce poverty.
In his remark the representative of AATF West Africa, Dr. Onyekachi Francis Nwankwo said that the major aspect of our work is the pod borer cowpea and AATF has embarked on a lot of developmental projects and products in Nigeria following its mandate to develop agricultural technology in Africa.
Onyekachi added the team from Ghana was in Nigeria to understudy the successes recorded by the country in the commercialisation of the PBR cowpea to assist the country’s learning process.