Zaria — The Director, Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Dr. Ahmad Falaki, has said that research in the institute has reached advanced stage in developing insect-resistance Bt cowpea (beans) varieties.
He made the disclosure at the second Agricultural Biotechnology Sensitization Workshop on "Development of Maruca-Resistance Bt Cowpea" that took place at ABU, Zaria.
Falaki, who was represented by Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, Program Leader, Irrigation Research, said the institute is determined to ensure the actualization of producing the insect-resistance cowpea.
"The workshop is aimed at keeping the university community and the general public well informed about the progress made in our quest to develop Maruca-resistance Bt cowpea.
"Where we are today is at the stage of replicating multi-locations to select high yielding and insect resistance cowpea for subsequent release to our esteemed farmers. It is to the credit of IAR and African Agricultural Technology Fund (AATF) and ABU that in the entire history of mankind a transgenic Maruca resistant cowpea variety is being successfully developed and at the verge of commercialization," Dr. Falaki said.
In his speech, the chairman of the occasion and Director, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Professor Bayodele Solomon, lauded the efforts of IAR for what he described as its giant strides.
He, however, lamented that the number of universities in Nigeria had increased to about 100 without commensurate number of professors in the country.
Earlier, the ABU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha, restated the commitment of the university towards maintaining its quality research output targeted at rural and agricultural development.