By Abdullahi Jalalalluden
The Agricultural Research Institute, IAR, of Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, has demonstrated samples of Maize Seeds at a farm in Karaye local government area of Kano State.
speaking during the demonstration of the New Varieties of the seeds tagged “Seeing is believing farming field day” principal Investigator ,Tela Maize Prof. Rabi’u Adamu said Nigeria needs additional 5 million metric tons, MT, to bridge the gap of maize production demand in the country.
He said the current maize production stands at 15 million metric tons while Nigeria needs 20 million MT, leaving 5he gap of 5 million.
According to Prof. Adamu, the shortage in the maize production demand was as a result of invasion of pests, especially Fall Army Worm that destroy the crops.
He said that is why the IAR developed the improved maize varieties that are resistant to the Fall Army Worm in order to boost the production to meet the demand.
“That is why we have brought four out of the eight varieties to maize farmers in Karaye Local Government. We have chosen Karaye ahead of Rano and Minjibir Local Governments because of its performance in maize and general crop farming.
“This varieties would help farmers double their yields as they are resistant to Fall Army Worm. They are also hybrid that make the crop grow in not more than three months.
“It will make Nigeria bridge the deficit of 5 million metric tons maize production demand in Nigeria,” he said.
Prof. Adamu explained that the farmers, under Karaye Farmers Association, would choose the variety they want through voting system, adding that the IAR would transmit the result of the voting to National Variety Release Committee committee for approval.
On his part, the Executive Director, Institute of Agriculture Research, Prof. Ado Adamu Yusuf decried the attitude of farmers who had failed to embrace the use of improved varieties.
Prof. Yusuf said improved variety will cut cost of production, improve high yield, resistant to fall army and drought tolerant at long run increase food production and food sufficiency.
He said the institute has a mandate for genetic improvement of several crops especially those crops that matters most to Nigerians and it economy.
According to him, “IAR have developed 69 varieties of maize. More than 50 varieties of sorghum, we have released 21 varieties of cowpea, groundnut about 29 varieties of groundnut, 17 varieties of cotton and four varieties of Sunflower. So the institute has been doing a lot.
“Unfortunately you move around the farmers field, you will realize that they continue to use the same variety and you will discovered that they continue to use the same variety that they have been using over the years. And they are not getting the best out of the variety. And as long as farmers will not improve in their productivity, in their yield per hectare, farming will continue not to be profitable. That’s to say, as long as farmers will not use improve variety so that they get high yield.
This project is not only about fall army worm resistant and stem bora but it has successfully released three varieties of maize that is drought tolerant. We are all aware one of the global issue we are battling with is climate change. It is affecting our primary source of livelihood which is Agriculture.
PEOPLES DAILY reports that the hybrid varieties was demonstrated on a half-acre farm belonging to one farmer Nasiru Adamu.
Speaking to journalists, Adamu said he had lost huge amount of money to the invasion of the Fall Army Worm for about five years.
According to him, since the introduction of the varieties, which was tried on his farm, he had witnessed rapid growth and higher yields.
He said the maize varieties that was demonstrated on his fame were planted on September 1st, adding that the farm is now set for harvest in the next three weeks.
At the end of the event, the farmers voted for variety A, which got 59 votes ahead of varieties B, C, and D.
The Principal Investigator said the result would be sent to National Variety Release Committee committee for approval, which would be used in the next farming season.