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

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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.

A review of results from confined field trials (CFTs) conducted by project partners in Zaria, Nigeria and Farako Ba, Burkina Faso in 2012 revealed that there were two promising transgenic cowpea lines from both CFTs. The results were found to be consistent with those from previous trials conducted in the two countries in 2010 and 2011. This significant milestone in product development paves way for Nigeria to move the trials from confinement to multi-location trials in 2013.

In Ghana, the National Biosafety Committee gave approval to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to conduct the first CFTs for the project in November 2012. This makes Ghana the third country in Africa to conduct transgenic trials for the Maruca-resistant Cowpea. The project is developing cowpea varieties with resistance to the Maruca pod borer. The borer causes grain yield losses ranging from 20-80 percent and farmers have indicated interest in the product.

The Project Advisory Committee also formally changed the Project name to Pod-Borer Resistant Cowpea from Maruca-resistant cowpea during the meeting. This was to help make the name more understandable to stakeholders.

For more information on the Pod-Borer Resistant Cowpea project contact Dr Prince Addae p.addae@aatf-africa.org

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