Around 24.2 % of the population live below the national poverty line. According to Mumuni Abudulai, principal investigator for the Bt cowpea project in Ghana, GM cowpea would not require poor farmers to do anything additional except maintain refuge — a practice in which non-GM crops are planted around GM crops making it more difficult for pests to develop resistance to the genes in GM crops. Although scientists and the OFAB are working to get that message out — with some scientists even asking their pastors to let them speak about GM food after Sunday prayers — changing public perception “is extremely challenging,” says Vivian Oduro, a plant scientist with the Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute in Accra. These groups reached out to African scientists, many of whom believe that biotechnology can solve some of African agriculture’s problems. She adds the paste along with other ingredients into a cooking pot balanced upon a make-shift stove, consisting of two uneven rocks with a small fire burning between them. News Ghana is Ghana's leading online news portal for business in West Africa and around the World. We work with more than 350 partners and members across 30 countries to do just that. For example, doctored images of animal-shaped fruits — supposedly created by inserting animal genes into fruit seeds — had been making the rounds on social media. This Nairobi-based nonprofit now coordinates many of the GM research projects in sub-Saharan Africa. Farrell, M. J. Ghana is the fifth highest producer of cowpea in Africa with an average of 143,000 MT produced annually on about 156,000 ha of land. Rich farmers are mostly literate, understand technology, and can afford risks. Cowpea is a mainstay of school lunches in Ghana. In Ghana, supporters of GM cowpea welcome Western support and believe the international partnerships serve the interests of local farmers. He said cowpea was rich in nutraceuticals compounds such as dietary fibre, antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols. “More scientists are coming forward to change public perception,” says Joseph Opoku Gakpo, an Accra-based journalist. The bulk of production occurs in the savannah regions of Northern Ghana, although cowpea can be grown in all ecological zones of Ghana. Item Categories Sample Percent. “There is no need to worry.”. In her next turn to speak, she appealed to the audience as a fellow Ghanaian and as the daughter of a farmer. [NAIROBI] Applying biochar, a charcoal-like substance made by burning plant waste matter as a fertilizer for growing cowpea could boost the crop’s growth and yield, a study in Ghana has found.. Cowpeas have substantial economic and health importance in Africa, where they provide food for people and livestock, as well as new crops. For these reasons, some poor farmers in Uganda may continue to plant their preferred traditional cooking banana varieties, which are not amenable to genetic modification. Drops of sweat collect on her forehead, just below her black headscarf. Ghana, 2019. Wouldn’t there be something wrong, they wondered, with a crop that even insects won’t eat? Today, with financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, OFAB organizes meetings between scientists, farmers, and the media. Interviews with a wide range of Ghanaians revealed some reservations about genetically modified foods. Once her mixture is sufficiently heated, she adds the final element: boiled cowpea beans. He believes the projects should be course-corrected to benefit them first instead of asking them to play catch up. Video of the farm visit and the launch of the bean varieties is on This core meeting is planned for Accra, Ghana, during November 18–20, 2003. And cowpea tolerates droughts, which are increasing across sub-Saharan Africa. For his part, Nashiru says he cares deeply about the seeds poor farmers ultimately use. ... Weeds are serious problem in cowpea production. It can also help reduce the use of pesticides, they say, freeing up land for other uses, providing enough surplus for regional market opportunities, and giving farmers an additional choice about what to grow. But it does not yet have a clear plan for how to reduce post-harvest losses for cowpea. About 90 percent of Ghana’s cowpea is grown in the north, and while there’s unmet demand for cowpea farther south, bad roads and lack of storage, among … Being indigenous to Africa, a number of plant types that are cultivated in the major growing… Oduro remembers a debate organized by a government ministry in Accra last year, where the audience was asked to vote on the introduction of GM foods. Alidu is skeptical. The release of the cowpea production is … Average yield was about 1.3 … Niger is the main exporter of cowpeas and Nigeria the main importer. Most cowpeas are grown on the African continent, particularly in Nigeria and Niger, which account for 66% of world cowpea production. After Oduro explained the science of genetic modification, a different speaker quoted a controversial 2012 study by French scientist Gilles-Éric Séralini. He took the participants through cowpea production and challenges and how Bt-Cowpea comes as a sustainable solution. If cowpea were similarly industrialized, says Egyir, this would increase demand and likely help cowpea farmers earn more money. Any concerns with the new technology had not yet reached them. BibTeX @MISC{Gershon_andcowpea, author = {Isaac Gershon and Kodwo Ansah and Hayford Oduro and Awuah Lartey Osae}, title = {and Cowpea Production in the Ejura Sekyedumase District of the Ashanti Region, Ghana}, year = {}} Thus, In stark contrast to his work today, roughly three years ago, Nashiru was leading marches in northern Ghana against GM crops. The farmers didn’t even know what they were marching for. 3 to 5 tons/hr 16.0. If not. We also believe that by increasing the competitiveness of bean markets, we can provide consumers with better products and contribute to the economic growth of our member countries. The tour took place at the Kwadaso Research Station in the Ashanti Region, to demonstrate the agronomic importance of the varieties. But because none of Zinindo’s farmers had actually grown GM cowpea, it was difficult for them to say anything more. And yet, before Nashiru’s visit to Zinindo, many of the local farmers had never even heard of genetic modification. According to Baffour, organic food is “natural” and “obviously the future of the world.” Organic food, however, is expensive to grow because it requires more labor and costly herbal insecticides, which farmers like Alidu cannot afford. For one, she and some of Zinindo’s farmers already intercrop cowpea, which lessens pest infestation. Together, they live in thatch huts that surround this open-air kitchen in the northern village of Zinindo. But they understood the companies were unlikely to invest in genetically modifying so-called orphan crops such as cowpea, cooking banana, and cassava, which aren’t traded internationally and are often grown and eaten by farmers without the financial means to purchase expensive GM seeds. An exploratory market study of cowpea products in Ghana using data from case studies of consumers, personal interviews of processors and market surveillance of retail outlets indicated that the cowpea processing industry has low milling capacity, low production level, and few small operators most of whom have been in the business for less than six years. There has been a projection that the rate of cowpea production for the period between 2010 and 2020 would increase by 11.1% . Two years later, a report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that there is “no substantiated evidence” that GM crops are less safe than non-GM crops. “More scientists are coming forward to change public perception,” says Joseph Opoku Gakpo, an Accra-based journalist who has attended GM workshops. After the prayer is finished, the old man introduces Mohammed Adams Nashiru, head of a farmers’ group in the region. Staff at the Rockefeller Foundation proposed that the companies donate the genes to research institutes in developing countries. Smallholder farmers are encouraged to participate in cowpea production when distance to both. The farm demonstrations were to determine the bean characteristics, yield potentials, and commercial value of the exportable commodities, especially on the international market. In an email shared with Undark, a Kenyan scientist cautioned his colleagues against meeting Schnurr, whom he feared could be peddling anti-GM propaganda. UNDER THE noonday sun, Alimatu Alidu uses a stone to grind tomato, red pepper, and small crayfish into a red paste. Around 24.2 % of the population live below the national poverty line. The ma-jor production areas elsewhere in the world are Asia (India, Myanmar) and the Amer- Richard Ampadu-Ameyaw, Ghana coordinator for OFAB, thinks it is best to train leaders like Nashiru whose community ties and farming background lend him credibility in the eyes of local community members. As with many other grain crops grown in the semi-arid tropics, the cowpea post-production system in developing countries is an important constraint. Whether the farmers will adequately maintain this practice, however, is not yet clear. California Startups Are Growing Meat From Animal Cells, Cleaning Ghana's Streets: ZoomLion on the Ground in Agona. “Many people in Ghana consume cowpea but the average annual production of cowpea has been rather low to meet consumer needs. He also owns 250 acres of land, much more than a farmer like Alidu, who owns just five acres. Likewise parts of Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Volta and A key feature of Ghanaian agriculture is the Ashanti regions savannah areas are considered cowpea dominance of smallholder farms, which constitute an growing areas [4]. IDIOT!” wrote one commenter after the article was posted on GhanaWeb. Dr Abdourhamane said the crop was widely cultivated and that consumed cowpea was an important legume for the nutrition and health of people in many countries hence the need for Ghana to boost its production. The legume is a favorite among farmers and laborers, who consume it in the morning before leaving for work and don’t feel hungry until sundown. While some African scientists are working tirelessly to reassure laypeople that GM foods are safe, it’s clear that safety concerns, however unfounded, are not the only challenge standing in the way of GM cowpea in Ghana. But they had conditions. In response to these criticisms, USAID and biotech scientists have argued that that there is no reason to pit one problem against the other. Ghana, Niger and Cameroon are significantproduc - ers. Yet there are notable differences between Nashiru’s life and the lives of the poor farmers. Over time, other big donors such as UK Aid, and corporations such as PepsiCo, joined the coalition. “This is the type I want.”. In response, scientists have genetically modified cowpea plant lines to resist the pest, and advocates for the technology — which involves altering an organism’s DNA in ways that aren’t possible through traditional breeding — believe that genetically modified (GM) cowpea can help feed the fast-growing population on a warming planet. “I often see European and U.S. themes quickly picked up by anti-GM activists in Africa.” But Lynas also notes that as people are exposed to a wider variety of facts and opinions — beyond the simple anti-GM narrative — their own views tend to become less entrenched. Schnurr has been researching GM orphan crop projects in Africa for over a decade. Out-scaling of quality seed of improved cowpea varieties • Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L) Walp) is an important food crop with good soil fertility enhancement ability • In northern Ghana, it is the second most important crop after groundnut. Image by Ankur Paliwal. Entomologist and principal investigator on the GM cowpea project Mumuni Abudulai often reaches out to journalists asking them to call him whenever they are doing a story about GM food. Almost all of Africa’s genetic modification projects are closely tied to Western organizations. Ninety percent of Ghana’s cowpea is grown in the northern part of the country. A humanitarian organization would be created specifically to facilitate a partnership between the companies, philanthropic and governmental organizations, and the local scientists. duced annually. This is due to the fact that those varieties alien to the West African terrain, have proven to thrive well on Ghanaian soil unlike in other countries in the sub-region still grappling to successfully cultivate these same type of beans” remarked Dr. James Asibuo, Bean programme at Crop Research Institute during the launch release of the four bean varieties. Still, Songotra — the cowpea variety that has been genetically modified — is already grown in about 20 percent of the cultivated area of Ghana’s Northern Region, and it is one of the varieties preferred by subsistence farmers. Ghana plans to release GM cowpea sometime this year or next, which would make it the third sub-Saharan African country after South Africa and Nigeria to approve local production and sale of GM food. Ghana will in about a year see the commercial release of pest-resistant Barceló’s Thurigensis (BT) cowpea seeds to the food value chain for mass cultivation by farmers. Researchers and scientists working on the project are elated about the success story, describing the release of the new common bean varieties as a breakthrough. (A BIOTECH, 2002) 1. Sometimes poor farmers follow their lead after seeing the technology work. These historical details were published in a paper by University of Minnesota sociologist Rachel Schurman, who had interviewed employees of the Rockefeller Foundation, biotech companies, and scientists in Africa. Biotech scientists say it’s best to offer choices and let farmers decide which seeds best meet their needs. (The paper was retracted the following year after a review found that “the conclusions described in the article were unreliable.”) The speaker also announced that waakye, a popular cowpea delicacy slow-cooked with rice, would be made using that same technology. “These [GM] technologies are being privileged at the expense of other potential interventions,” says Matthew Schnurr. In 2004, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation was launched. But cowpea has been under attack for years. The companies initially rejected the proposal, but ultimately accepted the plan after internal discussions about how the partnership could restore their public image. And when asked for examples, he was not able to provide any that were published in peer-reviewed journals. In Ghana, the debate around GM food is highly polarized, as it is elsewhere in the world, even in the U.S., where resistance has paralleled a growing demand for organic foods and clear labeling of genetically modified products. But “the goal of these projects is focused on small farmers,” says Schnurr. A winged pest, Maruca vitrata, bores into the pods and nibbles away at the seeds, destroying anywhere between 20 and 80 percent of West Africa’s cowpea crops every year. “The donors and scientists probably have good intentions, and they want to help,” says Klara Fischer, an associate professor of rural development at the Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences. Some maintained that the foods looked “too clean,” though few had actually seen these foods. During the launch release, participants among them farmers were taken on a practical field visit to experience the performance of the varieties on-farm. Cowpea is directly grown from seed, and depending on the purpose for production, it can be grown as a sole crop or intercrop with other crops like cereals, e.g. periodically removed they may act as hosts for pests. For now, OFAB appears to be making inroads. In fact, cowpea is one of the few food crops in Ghana not currently being processed for use in other products, says Irene Egyir, an agricultural economist at the University of Ghana. Image by Ankur Paliwal. Image by Ankur Paliwal. Ghana has just released four new bean varieties – ‘Ennepa‘, ‘Adoye‘, ‘Nsroma‘, and ‘Semanhyia‘, on a larger scale to enhance their livelihoods. Prof. Asare said cowpea had been identified as a multipurpose protein-dense food security crop widely consumed in Ghana but the major challenges confronting cowpea production included Infections, viruses, and drought, most of which could not be controlled by cultural practices, weedicides, and insecticides. She can make five different dishes from cowpea beans, which grow inside green pods up to 12 inches long. Region of Ghana since 53% of the total cowpea output is sold by smallholder farmers for income. They grow the crop and use it in their food basket. They say there is a gulf between these research projects and the specific needs of small farmers. Amid this and other criticisms, the companies agreed to an alliance. Subsistence farmers Lamnatu Alidu (left) and Alimatu Alidu (right) in northern Ghana depend on cowpea to meet the protein requirement of their 16-person family. Ghana is the highest cowpea growing country with over 180,000 hectares, more than any legume in the country. Ghana is in the process of developing two Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) varieties for rice and cowpea. 1 to 2 ton s/hr 28.0. Phone : +254 (0) 709 134 000,, Youth agri-entrepreneur transforming his community through job creation in Tanzania – case of Pastory Tarasisi, Alternative income for rural women in Zimbabwe in the wake of COVID 19, Capitalizing on digital tools to sustain bean production, trade and consumption amidst COVID-19. We believe that beans can improve the food security, income and health of smallholder farmers and urban dwellers across Africa, as well as contribute to improved soil fertility. In 2015, an Accra-based newspaper ran an article that quoted him saying genetically modified food is safe. Dr. Asibuo has been working with stakeholders at various levels to promote the commercial cultivation of common beans in the interest of the nation and farmers. “There is no free lunch,” says Edwin Kweku Andoh Baffour, a spokesperson for Food Sovereignty Ghana, the most active anti-GM group in the country. Otherwise, overproduction could lead to price declines in local markets and the crop could rot in the field. Ghana is the highest cowpea growing country with over 180,000 hectares, more than any legume in the country. Background information on cowpea production in Ghana; Introduction . The major production areas elsewhere in the world are Asia (India, Myanmar) Famers growing these new varieties target home consumption and street vending foods, “Waakye”, a traditional nutritious street dish made from beans and rice, is very affordable. Traditional cooking banana is low in vitamin A, and almost half of children in sub-Saharan Africa are vitamin-A deficient. 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