Burkina Faso Next in Line to Grant Approval for GM Cowpea Release

AATF Executive Director, Dr Caninius Kanangire (Left) and ECOWAS Comission's President, Dr Omar Alieu Touray

By Onche Odeh

Burkina Faso has made remarkable progress towards granting approval for the release of Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) cowpea.

The progress made by the West African country to this effect as disclosed by the Executive Director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Dr Canisius Kanangire is coming few months after Ghana granted similar approval for the release of the genetically modified version of the staple food that is widely consumed across the sub-region. Nigeria, had taken the lead less than four years ago by granting approval for the commercialization of the PBR Cowpea in the country.

Disclosing details of progress made so far by Burkina Faso towards the release of PBR Cowpea during an interactive session with select members of Nigerian media in Abuja, Dr. Kanangire said, “The feedback we are getting about PBR Cowpea approval in Burkina Faso is very encouraging. Although, the progress has not been as fast as expected, we are happy, especially with the high level of political will being displayed by the new leader in Burkina Faso.”

According to Dr. Kanangire, the progress made so far by Nigeria, Ghana and now Burkina Faso should chart the path to speedy harmonization of already established biosafety and related policies within the West African sub-region.

“Looking at the progress made so far by Nigeria, which has been closely followed by Ghana and now Burkina Faso, the vision now will be to see that the policies guiding the approval and release of specific products are harmonized. That way, approvals would not be delayed,” the AATF Executive Director stated during the interview.

Dr Kanangire said this policy harmonization should be built into the inter-continental free trade platforms.

Speaking further, the AATF Executive Director disclosed that the issue would form a core part of his conversation with leaders and representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the coming week.

He said similar conversation will also be advanced with the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Meanwhile, Dr. Kanangire has urged African countries to build institutions and regulatory bodies that will help build trust and ease the adoption of modern agricultural technologies and farming methods among African countries.