(Kaduna, Nigeria: September 13, 2023) Prof. Ishiyaku Mohammed, Executive Director of the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, has called on farmers to continue to trust scientists who work daily to improve agricultural productivity on the African continent.
Prof. Mohammed gave the charge while addressing farmers at the Seeing-Is-Believing tour organized by the TELA Maize Project for farmers, seed companies and maize stakeholders to showcase the performance of the TELA maize variety when compared to its conventional counterparts.
“Let me use this golden opportunity to pay tributes to our farmers who over the years continue to accept and adopt technologies developed by scientists and researchers at various institutes with the aim of improving agricultural productivity’’ he said.
According to the Professor who leads the Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea development, “It remained a thing of pride to see modern technologies such as TELA maize proving its benefits in these NPTs which also gives the farmer a chance to see and for the themselves ”
He called on the federal government of Nigeria to prioritize farmers’ access to modern technologies that would enhance productivity especially seed and other inputs to address new challenges posed by climate vulnerability.
Earlier, Prof. Rabiu Adamu, the TELA Maize Principal Investigator said that TELA maize was coming at a time when maize production in Nigeria was facing serious challenges from pests and diseases.
“Maize is one of Nigeria’s most adopted staples, but current realities have made it too expensive to produce and this is threatening the nation’s food security agenda’. TELA Maize, which is protected against fall armyworm, stem borers, and mild drought common factors troubling maize productivity, is therefore coming at a time when the nation is in dire need of a solution to the declining maize productivity” he said.
“Today, the best-performing maize variety in the country can only yield about 3 to 4 tons per hectare but TELA maize has the potential to yield 7 to 8 tons per hectare” he added.
In a remark, the Chief of Kakangi Village in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna said that farmers in the village received the TELA Maize seed with skepticism but after one month on the field, its performance stood out when compared to the other varieties that they have been growing over the years.
“With this performance that we have witnessed, I can tell you that farmers in this locality will surely abandon their old varieties and go for this TELA variety,” he said.
The Seeing-Is-Believing tour took place in Kakangi, one of the 15 locations under the National Performance Trials which is one of the requirements for the commercialization of the variety.
About AATF (www.aatf-africa.org)
AATF is an international not-for-profit organization that is empowering smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa with a wide choice of agricultural innovations that contribute to food and nutrition security to generate health and wealth for their families and communities. Established in 2003 as an African-led entity, AATF works with public and private partners across the full food value chain to access, develop, deliver and commercialize innovative technologies that bring meaningful change to Africa’s agriculture. AATF is driven by a vision of a prosperous and food-secure Africa, one where millions of smallholder farmers can transform African agriculture with the same innovations that are transforming food production around the world. AATF believes the farmers in Africa will become globally competitive through use of the best technology, optimal agricultural practices, strategic product value addition and boosted access to efficient markets within and outside Africa.