The Council for Scientific and Industries Research (CSIR) is awaiting approval for the commercial release of the country’s first genetically modified (GM) food crop, an insect-resistant cowpea.

A document on the new variety is currently before the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) for review and approval after which it will be sent to the National Biosafety Authority for final approval and subsequent commercialisation.

The Principal Investigator of Pod-borer Resistant of Cowpea Project at CSIR, Dr Jerry Nboyine, made this known at a media engagement on October 15 in Accra.

He explained that the document consisted of all the works done on the new variety of cowpea genetically engineered to provide built-in resistance to the insect.

Once it was approved, he said the NBA would grant permits to the CSIR to cultivate the new variety out of confinement.

He added that Bt cowpea would provide farmers with an alternative to costly and hazardous insecticide spraying and reduce the expense of applying pesticides on their farms.

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