Ghana National Biosafety Authority has approved the environmental release of Bt Cowpea, making it the second country to approve the genetically modified staple pulse crop in Africa. The approval documents were handed to the developers the state-run Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), by Ghana’s NBA CEO, Mr. Eric Okoree.
Mr. Okoree expressed optimism that this approval opens the door for progress with other improved crop projects, as it assures of the countries capacity to regulate products developed from modern biotechnology.
The approval, a culmination of a rigorous process that should take between 90-180 days according to Ghana’s Biosafety comprised of risk assessment by the technical assessment committee, socio-economic considerations and information provided by the public.
The insect protected cowpea that is resistant to Maruca pod borer pests will now be tried in multiple locations in open cultivation plans, before being released to Ghanaian farmers.
The crop assures drastic reduction of in application of insecticide sprays against the menacing pest, since the crop is self-protected, therefore bringing down the cost of production and increased the yields realized as the pods will be saved from the insect damage.