The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in the Savannah Region is set to introduce a new variety of cowpea which is pod borer(Maruca) resistant PBR Cowpea produce by using the bio technology.
In Ghana genetic modification and editing of organism is not common and this is the first time Ghana will introduce a genetically modified organisms.
Alliance for Science is in partnership with the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Ghana, Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA), International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) attracted journalist from all over the country to introduce the newly improved modified cowpea to them.
Abigail Akoto an executive member of alliance for science said their core mandate is to let the public see what experts are doing in the agricultural sector.
She said the workshop is aim at letting journalists know what is coming to solve cowpea farming challenges in Ghana and urged farmers that when the variety is eventually out farmers should embrace it as it will give them a good yield.
Dr Jerry Nbonyine the principal investigator for BT cowpea explained that in west Africa the Maruca pest has being a major challenge in the cultivation of cowpea.
However the crop is one of our major staple in Ghana with a consumption rate 169,000.
So in 2011 SARI-CSIR of Nyankpala set the infrastructure and in 2013 the institute applied to National Biosafety Authority (NBA) to ulter the DNA of the crop by replacing a resistant gene to the crop to with stand the Maruca pest.
So the work is done we are now waiting for NBA to give us the go ahead to commercialize it, he stated.
It is resist to the pest and will required little spraying and increase income, Dr Jerry explained.
He pleaded with the public do away with conspiracy theories and focus on the development of the cowpea in Ghana to increase farmer revenue.