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April 14, 2024

Gates Foundation Supports Kano With Anti-pest Bean Seeds  to Cut Use of Chemical Pesticides, Boost Production 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting the Kano State Government with anti-pest beans, a species developed from research, to significantly reduce dependency on pesticides and boost production.

Addressing newsmen at a project review and workshop on Tuesday in Kano, the Foundation’s Senior Programme Officer based in Seattle, United States, Lawrence Kent, said the foundation was proud to provide some financial support to partners in Nigeria who are working to produce both the foundation seed and the breeder seed and most importantly, the certified seed that is produced by eleven different Nigerian seed companies.

He revealed that the team was in Kano to support the pest resistance cowpea project which is an effort being led by the Nigerian government in collaboration with African Agricultural Technology.

His words: “This is to bring the new improved insect resistant cowpea to Nigeria in collaboration with Institute of Agricultural Research, and other projects have led to the development of improved cowpea variety that is resistant to pests.

“As a result, farmers who planted this cowpea will be able to achieve high yield with less dependence on pesticides because the product itself is insect resistant.

“We are supporting them to produce the quality seeds and make it available to the Nigerian farmers so they can improve their yields and reduce dependence on pesticides and improve their livelihoods,” Kent said.

On his part, the Kano State Commissioner for Agriculture, Danjuma Mahmud, expressed the readiness of the state to embrace whatever outcome is reached at the end of the workshop to boost the production and enhancement of the cowpea seeds.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Sadi Ibrahim, he said the exercise was a welcome development and excited that the workshop took place in Kano as it is an agrarian state. 

“Anything that has to do with agriculture, we are part and parcel of it. Whatever the outcome of this meeting, we are going to take it and work with it. We will sensitize our farmers on the new technology developed through this variety so that they can be able to adopt the cultivation of that variety to increase food production and ultimately food security in the state.

“Kano State Government on its side, is doing a lot to ensure the availability of high-quality seeds for its farmers,” Mahmud added.

One of the ways he mentioned included seed multiplication in the Ministry of Agriculture and Kano State Agricultural Development Authority where some seeds are procured from the National Institutes responsible for production.

“We produce it to get certified seeds which we ultimately distribute to our farmers at subsidized rates.

“Currently there is an effort by this administration to sanitize the seed industries that are operating in the state. Towards this, we are making serious efforts in collaboration with the National Agricultural Council, and the State Consumer Production Council to ensure that our farmers and the general public are sensitised on high-quality seeds,” he stated.

Also, the Director of Program Development and Commercialisation, AATF, Dr. Emmanuel Okogbenin described Nigeria as the largest producer of cowpea in the world, followed by its neighbour, Niger Republic.

However, he noted that Nigeria still imports the crop from Nigeria which underscores the need to improve local production to meet the needs of Nigerians.

Okogbenin explained further that cowpeas can be planted all over Nigeria, only that the challenges vary.

He stressed that with the enhancement of the cowpea seeds, up to 2 tons can be produced per hectare as against 0.2 per hectare which has so far been increased to 0.6 – 0.8 hectares but still not enough to satisfy the national demand with a population of 200 million Nigerians.

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