Nigeria to host GM cowpea trials
Nigeria has authorised trials for genetically modified insect-resistant cowpeas, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) reports. The government approved an application from the Ahmadu Bello University’s (Zaria) institute of agricultural research. The ISAAA says that the approval “opens the floodgate” to the development of varieties resistant to legume pod borers ( Maruca vitrata). African, Australian and US researchers will collaborate on the studies, using a technique similar to the one used in a field test in Puerto Rico last year. The Nairobi-based African Agricultural Technology Foundation will lead the trials. Cowpeas are a major legume in tropical Africa, grown on around 128 million ha. The project aims to market pod borer-resistant cowpea lines in Africa in 2014.