GMO suppliers attracted to African cowpea market
The potential adoption genetically modified cowpeas in three West African countries is attracting the attention of global seed supplying companies, according to a report released this months. The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) report claims that the “GM cowpea push in Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Ghana coincides” with multinational and local seed companies’ interest to produce foundation and certified seed in West Africa. The report is entitled: GM and seed industry eye Africa’s lucrative cowpea seed markets: The political economy of cowpea in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Malawi. GM cowpeas contain the Cry1Ab Bt gene, developed by Monsanto and donated since it has come off patent, to the African Agricultural Technology Foundation cowpea project, ostensibly on a “humanitarian basis” — royalty free, the report says. The project counts on international funding and is targeted towards Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Malawi. GM pod borer (Maruca vitrata)-resistant cowpeas are reportedly due to be introduced in the region by 2017.