Ghana has completed its scientific work on Bacillus Thuringiensis, BT Cowpea, after almost a decade of research. A dossier of the work will be submitted to the Nation Biosafety Authority, NBA by the end of this month.

The dossier contains details of the research work including the gene inserted in the beans to control the Maruca pest, the safety of the gene and its non target effect.

The Principal Investigator of BT Cowpea Project at the Savannah Agriculture Research Institute, SARI of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Tamale, Dr Mumuni Abdulai said the acceptance of the dossier will pave way for environmental release of the BT Cowpea, a genetically modified cowpea.

In an interview with GBC’s Radio Ghana following the commercial release of the same BT cowpea by Nigeria for commercial purposes, Dr Abdulai said when the dossier is accepted by the NBA, it will pave way to grow the beans outside the confined environment.

He said currently the regular cowpea is sprayed about seven time with pesticides but with the BT Cowpea, it will be sprayed twice. This is because the gene inserted in the GM Cowpea controls only the Maruca Vitrata, the pest that causes the most havoc to cowpea.

Dr Abdulai explained that the two spraying needed on GT Cowpea will control the two other pests, Thrips which attack flower and flower buds of cowpea and Pod Sucking Bugs. He said the technology is a breakthrough one since it addresses the effects of chemicals on farmers and on biodiversity.

Story filed by Joyce Gyekye.

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