Nigerian Institute develops cowpea varieties to withstand rain shortfall

Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria

NIMET predicted that South-East and South-West Nigeria may experience delayed onset of rainfall.

By 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.

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

According to Mr. Ishiyaku, a solution 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,” he told B4FA.

He said 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.”

Earlier this week, the Director-General of NIMET, Anthony Anuforom, predicted that South-East and South-West Nigeria may experience delayed onset of rainfall while certain other areas would have low comfort index because of high level of humidity and temperature.

Mr. Anuforom also advised farmers to plant crops varieties that have early maturing features.