GM crops can slash Africa’s pesticide use: Insect-resistant cowpea field trial shows farmers how

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A team of scientists developing Bt Cowpea at CSIR-SARI organized a field day at its confined field trial site in Upper East Region [of Ghana].

This brought to gather 70 farmers from Binduri District and Bawku Municipal …. The Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Jerry Nboyine …. took the participants through cowpea production and challenges and how Bt-Cowpea comes as a sustainable solution.

This new technology involved introducing a trait/character from a [bacterium] called Bacillus therigiensis (Bt) into the cowpea plant. This new trait …. protects the cowpea from being fed on by Maruca; hence, the name Bt cowpea …. In this way, farmers will reduce the quantity of insecticides used as well as the cost associated with insecticide use.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Why the world needs GMOs—4 farmers make the case for biotech crops

…. [O]ne of the advantages of Bt Cowpea is that it offers a backbone for an effective Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. With Bt-Cowpea only two applications of insecticide are sufficient to control the complex of pod-sucking insects; whereas with the conventional cowpea 5-10 applications are necessary.

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