Pod-borer insects destroying cowpea farms

CowpeaCowpea farmers in the Savannah Ecological Zone of Ghana have expressed concern over the continuous loss of more than 80 per cent of their crop yields annually to the destruction by the ‘Pod-borer’, insect.

The farmers, including those from the Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Volta and Brong Ahafo Regions, have appealed to the government consider supplying them with improved cowpea seed varieties that could withstand the insects.

The farmers expressed the concern at Nyankpala in the Tolon District at a day’s sensitisation seminar organised by the West Africa office of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, in collaboration with the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute and the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology-Ghana.

The seminar was aimed at sensitising the participants on the prospects and benefits of the Pod-borer Resistant Cowpea, and to also create awareness on agricultural biotechnology and its benefits.

It was attended by farmers, seed companies, chiefs, regulators, students, agricultural extension officers, agro-dealers and scientists.

It was also intended to solicit the support of farmers for the adoption of new varieties of cowpea seeds, showcase the Confined Field Trial site to stakeholders, as well as acquaint participants with the new variety of cowpea seeds.

Mr James Ayamba Anaaba, a chief and farmer from Narango in the Binduri District of the Upper East Region, said he had been cultivating cowpea for more than 26 years and used to grow 100 acres every year, “unfortunately, in 2015 and this year, 2016, I grew only two acres, because the losses are too much to bear”.

He said as a result of the situation, his expenditure had risen and at the end of the season some of his properties including animals were sold to be able to repay the bank loan.

Mr Anaaba, who gave out a portion of his land for the demonstration of the Pod-borer resistant cowpea in his district, said there was a vast difference between the new improved cowpea and the existing ones.

He appealed to government to support the initiative by the scientists, so that they can produce more seeds for supply to farmers.

Mr Mahama Lansah, a farmer from Damongo in the West Gonja District of the Northern Region, said “after 22 years of work as a cowpea farmer, I have nothing to show, because of the attack by pod-borers”.

Source: GNA

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