Peter Werehire

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Malawi to hold GMO cowpeas trials

The Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) has applied to the government for confined field trials for genetically modified organisms (GMO) pod borer-resistant cowpea varieties.LUANAR principal investigator Kingdom Kwapata said Tuesday that the trials are meant to evaluate agronomic performance and efficacy of cowpeas resistant to insect pest such as legume pod borer.

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Researchers inventing pod borer resistant cowpea for Africa

Cowpea, popularly called beans in Nigeria, is one of the country’s important food crops massively destroyed by a pest called pod borer or Maruca, which damage cowpea pods on farm fields thereby causing heavy losses to farmers and reducing cowpea productivity in the country and other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Prof. Mahammad Faguji Ishiyaku, a plant breeder, Nigeria’s annual consumption of cowpea runs to several millions of tons and constitute a greater percentage of the world’s consumption of cowpea.

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AATF plans commercialisation of pod borer resistant cowpea

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) is working towards commercialising and making the Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) cowpea available to farmers.

AATF is carrying out the pod borer resistant cowpea project to develop cowpea varieties that are resistant to attacks from maruca, a pest that inflicts severe damage to cowpea on farmer’s fields.

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External review of the Pod-Borer Resistant Cowpea and NEWEST rice projects indicates they are on track

The Pod-Borer Resistant Cowpea Project and the NEWEST rice projects underwent an external review commissioned by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in April 2013 with the reviewers’ preliminary findings indicating that the two projects are on track in achieving the set milestones.

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Maruca-resistant Cowpea project gets approval to conduct multi-location trials

The Nigeria team of the Maruca-resistant Cowpea Project received approval from the country’s National Biosafety Committee to conduct multi-location trials in 2013. This was revealed at the Project’s 2013 annual review and planning meeting held in Accra, Ghana in March 2013.

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Nigeria develops Maruca-resistant cowpea to reduce farm loss, says a bio-technologist

Abuja, March 18, 2013 (NAN) The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, has developed Maruca-resistant cowpea to reduce farm loss, Mrs Rose Gidado, a bio-technologist, said.

Gidado, Head, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Unit of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday.

She said that the feat was an activity under the Maruca-Resistant Cowpea project.

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Why Jonathan should sign Biosafety Bill – Prof Ishiyaku

Prof. Muhammad Faguji Ishiyaku is the Dean of Student Affairs of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Programme Leader of Biotechnology Research Programme of the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) of the University. In this exclusive interview with Abdallah el-Kurebe who was at a Media Training organized by Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA) at the Institute, Prof. Ishiyaku spoke on Biosafety & Biotechnology and the need for President Jonathan to expedite assent on the Biosafety Bill and other issues relating to mass food production. Excerpts:

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Ghana to begin GMO testing

Adelaide Arthur (11 October): Confined Field Trial (CFT) of three genetically modified crops may start next year, according to Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Ibrahim Kwasi Atokple.

Scientists at various Institutes of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research are expecting permits from the National Biosafety Committee to enable them proceed with the evaluations.  Seeds for genetically modified rice, cowpea and sweet potatoes are to be tested for essential traits that will enhance crop production in the country.

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Using Biotechnology Applications

By Gabriel Agbeja

The United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity defines biotechnology as any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms or derivatives to make or modify products or processes for specific uses.

Biotechnology is a field of applied biology which involves the use of living organisms and bio-processes in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bio-products.

Biotechnology also utilises these products for manufacturing purposes.

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Nigeria Passes Biosafety Bill

The Nigerian Senate enacted the Biosafety Bill into law on June 1, 2011, after several years of stakeholders' discussion and debate. The Bill went through the Senate procedure by Resolution and Concurrence after going through three readings. It was concurred without amendments to the draft Bill passed by the House of Representatives on July 20,� 2010. The law now awaits Presidential assent upon which implementing regulations will be developed to pave way for its operationalization.

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