The National Varietal Release and Registration Committee of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), has approved another batch of three new varieties of cowpeas for the Northern part of the country.
These add to the four that were approved couple of weeks ago for the southern part.
The new varieties which are expected to be released onto the market for cultivation and consumption are not only resistant to striga, parasitic weeds, which often attacked the crops leading to low yields, and root knots, but also drought tolerance and adaptable to climate change variability.
Members of the Committee made the approval after inspecting the field trials of the new varieties of the cowpeas at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR-SARI) station at Manga in the Bawku Municipality.
They were jointly released by a group of Research Scientists drawn from the CSIR-SARI and the College of Agriculture and Natural Science of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) as the lead institution, Plant Genetic Resources Research Institute of Ghana, the University of Virginia in the United States of America and MoFA.
The approved varieties of the cowpeas are expected to be submitted to the MOFA and would be subsequently placed on the National Seed Bank and the National Seed Catalogue.
A Senior Research Scientist of SARI in charge of the Manga Station, Dr Francis Kusi, said the new varieties of cowpea released would benefit farmers across the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions including some southern parts of the country.
He explained that the released varieties were not only striga and drought resistant but were also high yielding and early maturing genotypes that farmers could cultivate widely in both the northern and southern zones in the country and to meet consumer needs.
A Senior Lecturer at KNUST, Professor Richard Ankromah, noted that one of the major factors affecting food security in the country particularly Northern Ghana was the striga plant disease, drought and other crop related diseases and expressed optimism that with the new scientific discovery, it would help curb the problem.