Institute to Release High Yielding, Drought, Pest Resistant Maize Variety to Farmers

Institute to Release High Yielding, Drought, Pest Resistant Maize Variety to Farmers

The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, has developed a high-yielding, drought and pest resistant maize variety that would enhance food sufficiency and security in the country.

The Principal Investigator and Head of the TELA Maize Project in the institute, Prof. Rabiu Adamu, disclosed this during a field visit to the project ‘Confined Field’ in Zaria on Wednesday.

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Adamu said that the TELA is an acronym which means ‘total protection’ that the project was an advanced use of technology for the production and improvement of maize in developing countries and the new variety would be released to farmers in 2022.

He said this is the first attempt to produce a maize variety that is resistant to insect, drought tolerant and high yielding which is important in alleviating drought and pests, which are the major constraints bedevilling maize production in Nigeria.

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Adamu added that drought and pests, particularly stem bora and fall armyworm, often limit the maize productivity that the project utilised the approach of genetic modification in biotechnology to develop the improved crop variety.

“The field visit at TELA Maize trial site is meant to showcase how science works. The materials we are going to show you today are bred to resist drought and stem bora. This two constraints, if not checked, can result in 100 per cent of crop failure, particularly end of the seasonal drought.

“There is need for us to come up with a new variety that can withstand the climate change we are experiencing. The raining reason is very unpredictable and sometimes it is short and maize requires good rains for it to give good yield,’’ he said.

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The Director of the Institute Prof. Mohammed-Faguji Ishiyaku, said that the institute usually invents new technology that improves agricultural productivity every year that the challenge of global warming and climate change in Nigerian Agriculture had resulted in two environmental conditions characterised by either shortage of rainfall or excessive rainfall that often lead to flooding.

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