In the fourth of our “GMO firsts” series we will discuss insect-resistant (Bt) cowpea — the first genetically modified (GM) food crop unique to Africa and the first GM food crop to be commercially approved in Nigeria. This crop, which is a protein-rich staple food for millions, represents a major food security milestone for Nigeria and West Africa. Nkechi Isaac, a Nigerian journalist and Alliance for Science correspondent, Dr. Rose Gidado, assistant director of the Agricultural Biotechnology Department at the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) and Nigerian Country Coordinator for the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), and Prof. Mohammad Ishiyaku, principal investigator of the cowpea project at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, will discuss the nutritional importance of cowpea as a “poor man’s meat,” the effectiveness of Bt cowpea in reducing pesticide use and the status of getting improved seeds out to Nigeria’s farmers.
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