- Expected to yield over 8 tonnes per hectare
The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) has introduced a newly developed variety of maize, TELA Maize, aimed at increasing the productivity of the staple crop and bridge the supply-demand gap affecting currently facing its value chain.
Rabiu Adamu, the principal investigator of the project explained that the research was basically to improve the three tonnes per hectare range produced by farmers in the country which he described as a low yield. The new seed variety, he said, has the potential of raising output to over eight tonnes per hectare.
On his part, Abdullahi Mustapha, director general of the agency made the disclosure during the field trial harvesting of the improved maize variety in Zaria, Kaduna State.
Speaking on the economic benefits of the Tela maize, Mustapha noted that the maize has shown resistance to ‘Fall Armyworm’ which had in the past caused huge devastation to maize cultivation in the country, adding that the recent harvest has shown remarkable progress in maize farming.
The NABDA boss further divulged that the agency had initiated a partnership with the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, as well as other prominent institutions to enhance the production of genetically improved maize variety. The collaborations, he reiterated, would promote biotechnology usage, research, encourage the revival and development of the agriculture sector and also help to make it a net contributor to the country’s economic diversification prospects.
Commenting on negative reports about the health implications of consuming biotechnology crops, Mustapha noted that there is no scientific proof that biotechnology crops have a negative health effect. He faulted the reports as misconceptions without any proof, adding that whoever has a valid proof should present the factual evidence.