By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has identified suitable planting windows for cowpea also known as beans for the different ecologies in the country.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Communication Officer (West and Central Africa) AATF, Alex Abutu, made a available to our correspondent in Kaduna on Sunday February 12, 2023.
Dr Jean Baptiste, AATF Regional Representative for West Africa who made the disclosure during a visit to Pandagric Farms, near Keffi, Nasarawa State, said the windows will enable farmers cope with the vulnerabilities of climate change.
The Cowpea field in Panda, spanning over 35 hectares, is part of the dry season cowpea production being introduced by AATF to ensure the variety produces at its maximum in the absences of insect pressure and other climate vulnerabilities.
Dr Jean noted that due to the impact of climate change resulting in either too much or too little rain fall or early cessation of rain, beans are not producing at their maximum potentials leaving Nigerian farmers miserable during harvest.
“After a careful study of the situation, we have come to understand that because farmers are not guided on when to plant, the crop productivity is often interrupted by climate uncertainties.
“The rain fall pattern for the country is not uniform and each year comes with its own surprises, so it is important for farmers to be accurately guided,” he said.
He noted that in the last few years, farmers have been suffering from several uncertainty associated with the rain fall pattern and this has greatly reduced cowpea productivity.
“It is either that the rain is too much, submerging cowpea farms all over the places as a result of flash flood or the rains ends suddenly, and drought set in at a time that the crop needed enough water.”
He advised cowpea farmers to take advantages of identified planting windows which carefully arrived after studying the weather pattern in the last few years.
According to him, farmers in the Sahel region comprising Borno, Yobe, jigawa, parts of Katsina and parts of Sokoto states of the country, should endeavor to plant from the third and fourth week of June to enable them maximizes the opportunities of early rains and beat any possibility of early cessation while those in the Sudan Savannah region including kebbi, parts of Sokoto, parts of Zamfara, parts of Katsina, parts of kano, Jigawa, parts of Bauchi, parts of yoba and parts of borno states should plant from the 1st to 2nd week of July.
He equally urged those in the Northern Guinea Savannah with the following states as Bauchi, Kaduna, parts of Katsina, Kano and Zamfara to commence planting from the 3rd week of July to first week of August while those in Southern Guinea Savannah in which the following states as Niger, kwara, parts of Abuja, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe belong have the first to third week of August to plant.
After two years in the hands of farmers, some farmers have taking advantages of the prolific nature of the Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea to undertake two planting season during the cause of the planting year.
According to statistics from the Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, the PBR Cowpea is the most sought after cowpea variety in the country currently.
The variety is most preferred by farmers due to its early maturing quality, use of less chemical spray, high yielding, and high folder production.
Founded in 2003 to address Africa’s food security prospects through agricultural technology, AATF believes that the agricultural sector is a key foundational pillar as Africa consolidates its economic growth and carves out its new position as a major global economic powerhouse and the next growth market in the world.
It was formed in response to the need for an effective mechanism that would facilitate and support negotiation for technology access and delivery and formation of appropriate partnerships to manage the development & deployment of innovative technologies for use by smallholder farmers in Sub Saharan Africa.