By Naomi okoh
The College of Agronomy, Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, Makurdi (JOSTUM) in Benue State has showcased two improved varieties of cowpea for proposed release in due course.
The new varieties known as FUAMPEA 3 & 4 , developed to satisfy the yearnings of cowpea farmers across the country, is aimed at bringing all value chain to expose them to the great opportunities around the value chain.
Speaking during the Farmers’ Field Day, recently in Makurdi, The Seed Systems Principal Investigator of the project, Dr. Teryima Iorlamen, of the College of Agronomy, noted that the exercise was necessary to get feed back from stakeholders.
He said, “Today’s farmers field day mainly showcases materials released and proposed materials for release.” Iorlamen explained that the new varieties are an improvement of 2016 released FUAMPEA 1 and 2 by the Federal University of Agriculture (FUAM) in Makurdi now renamed JOSTUM in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), under the Accelerated Varita Improvement and Seed System delivery in Africa (AVISA), programme and supported by Sygenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture alongside other seed companies.
The principal investigator who promise to make the seed available to farmers as at when due, also maintained that,” the FUAMPEA is an improved cowpea seed varieties which enable farmers to produce the early maturity duration, size, taste, colour or quality of the cowpea that they like.”
The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Richard Kimbir, in his remark, applauded the College of Agronomy for doing so much to promote the university.
Represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Professor Paul Annnue, Kimbir added, “The College invited us to show case the new varieties they have developed. The college had been doing so much that surrounding states are happy with what we are doing here.” “Our impacts are being felt by the surrounding state which implies that the university can produce small and big sizes of cowpea.”
On his part, the State Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Timothy Ijir, appreciated the University for the Initiative as he pointed out that the institution was doing the job which the ministry is now taking the credit.
Ijir represented by his Director of Agriculture, Thomas Unongo, added that because of the efforts of the university, the state now take the lead as highest producers of six major crops – cassava, sesame, yam, rice, soybean and cowpea in the country.
In an interview with The Voice participants and Cowpea farmers, Hon Abua Yaji from Gboko local government and Mr Vital’s Tarnongo MD/COE Teryima Nigeria Ltd Markudi both appreciated the efforts being made by the university in the area of cowpeas improvement and seed system.
According to them the improvement made by developing two new varieties which record a significant improvement over the first two new varieties which was released in the areas of seed size biomass, resistance to diseases among others.
The occasion was attended by principal staff of the university, scientist IITA, KNARDA, BNARDA, and a walk round the Cowpeas farms to see things for themselves.