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The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has identified suitable planting windows for cowpea also known as beans for the different ecologies in the country.


Dr. Jean Baptiste, AATF Regional Representative for West Africa, who made the disclosure during a visit to Pandagric Farms, near Keffi, Nasarawa State in Nigeria, said the windows would enable farmers to cope with the vulnerabilities of climate change.

The Cowpea field in Panda, spanning over 35 hectares, is part of the dry season cowpea production being introduced by AATF to ensure the variety produces at its maximum in the absence of insect pressure and other climate vulnerabilities.

Dr. Baptiste noted that, due to the impact of climate change resulting in either too much or too little rainfall or early cessation of rain, beans are not producing at their maximum potential leaving Nigerian farmers miserable during harvest.

“After a careful study of the situation, we have come to understand that because farmers are not guided on when to plant, crop productivity is often interrupted by climate uncertainties. The rainfall pattern for the country is not uniform and each year comes with its own surprises, so it is important for farmers to be accurately guided,” he said.

He noted that, in the last few years, farmers have been suffering from several uncertainties associated with the rainfall pattern and this has greatly reduced cowpea productivity.

“It is either that the rain is too much, submerging cowpea farms all over the place as a result of a flash flood, or the rains end suddenly, and drought set in at a time that the crop needed enough water,” Baptiste said.

He advised cowpea farmers to take advantage of identified planting windows which carefully arrived after studying the weather pattern in the last few years. 

According to him, farmers in the Sahel region comprising Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, parts of Katsina, and parts of Sokoto states of the country should endeavour to plant from the third and fourth week of June to enable them to maximise the opportunities of early rains and beat any possibility of early cessation while those in the Sudan Savannah region including Kebbi, parts of Sokoto, parts of Zamfara, parts of Katsina, parts of Kano, Jigawa, parts of Bauchi, parts of Yobe and parts of Borno states should plant from the first to second week of July.

He equally urged those in the Northern Guinea Savannah with states such as Bauchi, Kaduna, parts of Katsina, Kano, and Zamfara to commence planting from the third week of July to first week of August while those in Southern Guinea Savannah in which the following states as Niger, Kwara, parts of Abuja, Adamawa, Taraba, and Gombe belong have the first to third week of August to plant.

After two years in the hands of farmers, some farmers have taken advantage of the prolific nature of the Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea to undertake two planting seasons during the cause of the planting year.

According to statistics from the Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, the PBR Cowpea is the most sought-after cowpea variety in the country currently.

The variety is most preferred by farmers due to its early maturing quality, use of less chemical spray, high yielding, and high folder production.

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