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Tuesday, June 29, 2021


 By Ada Achanya

An expert, Dr. Denis Kyetere, has stressed the need for use of technology to boost agriculture in Africa.

He said that many farmers in the continent remain poor unlike their contemporaries in other parts of the world.

Dr. Kyetere who is Executive Secretary of African Agricultural Technology Foundation ( AATF) stated this at the virtual press conference on the pre launch of PBR Cowpea.

He said the farmers lack consistent access to targeted affordable agricultural innovations that would allow them to prosper.

He expressed excitement over impending launch of the new  PBR Cowpea variety SAMPEA 20-T which was developed by scientists at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) at Ahmedu Bello University Zaria  in collaboration with International partners under AATF.

According to him "this is as the result of several farming challenges faced by African farmers ranging from the impact of climate change, pest and disease infestation, poor soil fertility among others that have greatly reduced agricultural productivity at farm levels.

"Large scale adoption of this variety can improve cowpea production by at lest 20-50%. It can drastically improve cowpea production in Maruca- endemic areas and in Nigeria most Cowpea producing areas are highly infested by this destructive insect pest.

Dr. Kyetere announced that after laboratory and Field work involving confined and nation wise trials , AATF and the other partners will officially launch the Pod Borer Resistant( PBR) cowpea variety on Tuesday in Nigeria.

"This is a historic milestone for African farmers and especially for Nigeria's food security, Cowpea being a staple crop in the country and an important source of protein for over 200 million people.

He urged government to exercise their statutory duty of care to put in place appropriate policies, making regulations and well structured and capable institutions with relevant and qualified human resources to support growth in the sector.

"Innovation can not  drive in isolation without enabling environment," he added.

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