By Mohammed Kandi
Following the recent report of the 2014 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), farmers have been advised to consider cowpea with traits of early maturity and drought tolerance.
A Plant breeder at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Prof. Mohammed Faguji Ishiyaku made the call recently at the institute, while speaking with journalists sponsored by the Bioscience for Farming in Africa (B4FA).
Prof. Ishiyaku also said Bio-tech engineered crops have the capacity to deal with the problems of low rainfalls and drought.
He advised the farmers to go for Samaru Cowpea (Sampea 8), which matures in about 55 days after planting.
“Farmers should consider especially Sampea 8 and 10. While Sampea 8 matures in just 55 days, Sampea 10 matures 60-65 days and is also resistant to striga infection,” the plant breeder said.
It would be recalled NIMET had, in its 2014 SRP report, predicted less rainfall and extreme weather conditions across most parts of Nigeria in 2014.
The Director-General of NIMET, Dr. Anthony Anuforom, predicted that the South-East and South-West parts of Nigeria may experience delayed onset of rainfall while certain other areas would have low comfort index because of high level of humidity and temperature.
“Overall, we may have shorter than normal rainy season. We advise farmers to use early maturing crops species for the short rainy season,” Anuforom stated. “Cessation of rains from the ENSO (El Nino/Southern Oscillations) signals shows that the level of humidity and temperature will be high in March and April”.