AgTech Crop Protection

Gene Editing Revolutionizes Cowpea Farming Enabling Mechanized Harvesting

AgTech company, Better Seeds revolutionizes cowpea farming with gene editing

BetterSeeds, an Agri-Tech company, is revolutionizing the world of agriculture with its latest breakthrough – developing the first Cowpea plant suitable for mechanized harvesting. Using its proprietary genome editing technology, EDGETM (Efficient Delivery of Gene Editing), BetterSeeds has been able to redesign the Cowpea plant, making it an ideal candidate for mass-scale cultivation. This groundbreaking achievement is set to change the face of agriculture and help solve the world’s looming food security problems.

Cowpea, also known as Lubia or black-eyed peas, is one of the most ancient crops humans have farmed. With its high protein tenure, heat resistance, and adapted water and fertilizer needs, Cowpea is an exceptionally sustainable legume with enormous nutritional and agronomic value. In contrast, Soybean, the most abundant legume, requires important quantities of water and fertilizers and cultivates well only in a temperate climate. As a result, its output is predicted to drop by 30% in the forthcoming decade due to global warming (the company claims).

The gene editing of the Cowpea plant by BetterSeeds has made it fit for mechanized harvesting, similar to soybeans. Before this achievement, Cowpea’s plant architecture and fruit appearance needed to be more suitable for mechanized harvesting and could only harvest manually. In addition, the indeterminant and sprawling nature of the Cowpea plant made it difficult to gather on a large scale. BetterSeeds targeted the gene that alters the plant’s architecture, turning it into a determinant and erect plant with simultaneous pod appearance, making it suitable for mechanized harvesting by a combine. This redesign permits farmers to increase their versatility of legume cultivation, use their land all year round, and secure a sustainable supply of plant-based protein.

BetterSeeds is also working on enhancing the Cowpea plant with its upcoming trait of herbicide resistance. The enhancement will further increase the efficiency and productivity of the crop, making it an even more attractive option for farmers. In addition, the company’s unique genome editing technology, EDGETM, makes it possible to develop new varieties across a broad portfolio of crops incorporating game-changing traits not currently available due to the limitations of applying genome editing technologies.

Image provided by BetterSeeds

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