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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

820 farmers picked to plant GM cowpea in national demonstration

A total of 820 Nigerian farmers selected from 36 states in the country will participate in a nation-wide demonstration of the recently released SAMPEA 20-T by planting it on their plots to create awareness about the variety.

A farmer in Rurum area of Rano LGA of Kano state weeding his SAMPEA 20-T farm intercropped with maize

SAMPEA 20-T was commercially released as a cowpea variety in Nigeria in 2019 after getting environmental permit from the National Biosafety Management Agency and commercial release approval from the National Crop Varieties and Livestock Breeds Registration and Release Committee. It was officially unveiled to farmers on June 29, 2021.

The planned demonstration which is organised by the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS), the Institute for Agricultural Research and African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) draws from the pool of over 1,200 farmers trained through an elaborate programme supervised by NAERLS.

The demonstration, according to Dr Issoufou Kollo, AATF Regional Representative for West Africa, is to allow farmers who have not tried out SAMPEA 20-T to do so in their neighborhood by either participating in the trials or witnessing the variety being planted by their fellow farmers.

“Since the unveiling ceremony in June 2021, we’re flooded with requests from farmers all over the country who want to plant the variety. Because we are unable to meet this huge demand, we have decided to conduct another round of nation-wide demonstrations to give farmers in all localities the opportunity to see how the variety performs,” said Dr. Kollo.

Kollo, who also doubles as the AATF Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea Project Manager, said that IAR and the three seed companies contracted to market the SAMPEA 20-T are working round the clock to produce enough foundation seed to ensure that next farming season, more farmers can have access to the seed for planting.

Dr Mohammed Lawan, the SAMPEA 20-T Trial Manager at IAR, advised the farmers to adhere strictly to the approved agronomic practices to ensure that they fully benefit from the variety. “Use 75cm X 20cm inter and intra row spacing at 20kg/ha,” Dr Lawan advised.

He also urged them to note that the variety is early maturing requiring only 75 – 80 days to mature.

NAERLS has fully mobilised its extension agents that will coordinate the farmers during the demonstration.

Already, farmers participating in the exercise have been provided with the necessary inputs including certified seeds of SAMPEA 20-T.

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