To improve cowpea productivity and production in Africa by developing and disseminating farmer preferred and locally adapted Maruca-resistant varieties to cowpea growers for better harvests.
POD BORER RESISTANT MARUCA (PBR) COWPEA
Improving cowpea productivity and production in Africa
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Cowpea is one of the most important legume food crops in Sub-Saharan Africa. It constitutes the major protein source for people both in rural and urban centres. Cowpea production is affected by insect pests, especially the legume pod borer, Maruca vitratar, that causes the largest pre-harvest damages, reducing grain yield by up to 80% and lowering the quality of the grain. For the benefit of African farmers, African scientists identified PBR Cowpea (Bt cowpea), with in-built protection against Maruca damage, as a solution for Maruca Damage.
The PBR Cowpea Project is a public-private partnership that is developing and disseminating cowpea with resistance to Maruca pod borer for increased productivity. The project partnership that brings together leading African and international institutions is led by AATF through the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The Project is being implemented in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Malawi. Over the last 11 years, it has recorded significant milestones including the first commercial release of the product in Nigeria and the world.
The Cowpea, known as PBR Cowpea, will increase production through control of Maruca pod borer. The benefits will include larger harvests, higher incomes and improved health through the reduced need for harmful treatments.
TAAT Policy Enabler
Improved nutrition and food security for about 8 million farmers and their families and better health, environment and income for farmers.
“I look forward to cowpea seed varieties that can control the attack by pests. I believe such varieties would reduce my costs of growing cowpea, increase my yields and also the income I get from the sale of the crop. I would want researchers to develop seeds that are high yielding and are resistant to pests and diseases.” – Momodu Ahiaba, cowpea farmer, Kaduna State, Nigeria.
PBR Cowpea will contribute to a more reliable cowpea harvest that will improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and help strengthen local communities. Farmers will be able to harvest enough to feed their families and have a surplus which they can sell to increase their incomes.
PBR Cowpea will reduce grain yield losses and result in increased cowpea production by at least 20 per cent thereby improving incomes of commercial farmers.
PBR Cowpea will reduce production costs for farmers and benefit both human and environmental health through the use of less pesticide from the usual 6-8 applications to only two during a season.
FIELD & IMPACT STORIES
Analysis: How Nigeria’s Bt Cowpea will help combat hunger and food insecurity
PBR cowpea evaluation evaluation farmer2
Nigeria can save billions of naira on cuts on cowpea imports – NGO
PBR Cowpea: The triumph of science
Nigeria has given a new GM cowpea variety the go ahead. Why it matters
Nigeria commercialises first transgenic cowpea variety
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Dr. Francis Onyekachi
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), one of the original funders of AATF, supports the Nitrogen-Use Efficient, Water-Use Efficient, Salt-Tolerant Rice Project; Pod-Borer Resistant Cowpea Project; and the Water Efficient Maize for Africa project. USAID supports the MLN Diagnostics and Management Project through CIMMYT. USAID also supported the Striga Control in Maize project as part of the US government’s Feed the Future initiative.
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