IAR develops cowpea varieties to withstand rain shortfall



ABUBy Abdallah el-Kurebe

Two cowpea varieties that could withstand short rainfall have been developed by the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Muhammadu Ishiyaku, a professor, geneticist and plant breeder with the Institute told Media Fellows of Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA) when they paid study visit to the Institute on Thursday that Nigerian farmers could plant Sampea 10 and 8, cowpea varieties that have earliest maturing features.

For him, a recourse has been provided for farmers in Nigeria against the warning by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) that there would be less rainfall and extreme weather condition across most parts of Nigeria in 2014.

“If farmers plant Sampea 10 and 8, cowpea varieties that have been developed by IAR to mature earlier, the warning by NiMET, especially as it affects cowpea production, could be averted,” Ishiyaku told B4FA.

Explaining that while Sampea 10 matures in between 60 and 65 days and Sampea 8 matures in 55 days, “these varieties are resistant to heat and lack of or minimal rainfall. Sampea 10 is also resistant to striga.”

It could be recalled that earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Anuforom, Director-General of NIMET predicted that the South-East and South-West parts of the country may experience delayed onset of rainfall while certain other areas would have low comfort index because of high level of humidity and temperature.

The DG had also advised farmers to plant crops varieties that have early maturing features.

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