July 25, 2024

Nigeria Needs Additional  5MT Maize Production to Meet Demand — ARI

To bridge the gap in maize demand in the country, the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) has said that Nigeria needs an additional 5 million metric tons(MT) as its current production level is at 15 million metric tons(MT).

The Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) has decried that Nigeria needs additional 5 million metric tons, MT, to bridge the gap in maize production demand in the country.

While speaking during the demonstration of the New Varieties of the seeds tagged “Seeing is believing farming field day” The Principal Investigator, Tela Maize Prof. Rabi’u Adamu said the current maize production in the country stands at 15 million metric tons (MT) while Nigeria needs 20 million (MT), leaving gap of 5 million.

Adamu who made the assertion on Tuesday when demonstrating samples of Maize Seeds at a farm in Karaye local government area of Kano State, noted that the shortage in the maize production demand was a result of invasion of pests, especially Fall Army Worm that destroyed the crops.

According to him, “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.

He noted that “This variety would help farmers double their yields as they are resistant to Fall Army Worm. They are also hybrid, making the crop grow in not more than three months.

He disclosed that ” It will make Nigeria bridge the deficit of 5 million metric tons maize production demand in Nigeria,”

Prof. Adamu explained that the farmers, under Karaye Farmers Association, would choose the variety they want through a voting system, adding that the IAR would transmit the result of the voting to the National Variety Release Committee committee for approval.

Speaking on the occasion, 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, be resistant to fall army and be drought tolerant at the long run increasing food production and food sufficiency.

The institute has a mandate for genetic improvement of several crops, especially those crops that matter most to Nigerians and their economy.

“ARI has developed 69 varieties of maize. More than 50 varieties of sorghum, we have released 21 varieties of cowpea, about 29 varieties of groundnut, 17 varieties of cotton and four varieties of Sunflower. So the institute has been doing a lot.

“Unfortunately when you move around the farmers’ field, you will realize that they continue to use the same variety and you will discover 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 do not improve their productivity, their yield per hectare, farming will continue to not be profitable. That’s to say, as long as farmers do not use improved variety they get high yields.

This project is not only about fall armyworm resistant and stem bora but it has successfully released three varieties of maize that are drought tolerant. We are all aware one of the global issues we are battling with is climate change. It is affecting our primary source of livelihood which is Agriculture.

It will be recalled that the hybrid varieties were demonstrated on a half-acre farm belonging to one farmer Nasiru Adamu.

However, speaking to journalists, Adamu said he had lost a huge amount of money to the invasion of the Fall ArmyWorm for about five years.

He added that since the introduction of the varieties, which were tried on his farm, he had witnessed rapid growth and higher yields.

He said the maize varieties that were 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.

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