Ahead of June end’s commencement of Nigeria’s exportation of yam tuber to Britain, the country has intensified efforts at culturing hybrid crops with the release of 13 varieties of new high-yield crops for commercial purpose.
The ministry of science and technology which made the announcement listed the new introductions to include two wheat varieties — LACRIWHIT 9 and LACRIWHIT 10 and three maize varieties — SAMMAZ 52, SAMMAZ 53 and SAMMAZ 54.
Changing climatic conditions as well as the need to grow food on a large scale to meet the needs of a growing population has increased the pressure on local research institutes to come up with improved crop varieties.
Awoyemi Oladosu, Chairman, National Varietal Release Committee (NVRC) announced the release at the 25th meeting of NVRC at National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) in Ibadan.
Two wheat varieties — LACRIWHIT 9 and LACRIWHIT 10 — and three maize varieties — SAMMAZ 52, SAMMAZ 53 and SAMMAZ 54, four maize hybrids, SC612, SC 649, DK390, and DK 7508; three rice varieties, Faro 66, Faro 67and Faro 68, and one sugarcane variety, NCS-009, were approved and released by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
The approval and subsequent release of the crop varieties was based on certain characteristics which included high tuber and grain yield; pro-vitamin A content; early maturity; tolerance to pest and drought as well as iron toxicity.
On the other hand, a number of crops which are in the works did not record the same success as they were not approved for release. Oil palm varieties which were submitted by the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) for consideration and registration, were not accepted for recommendation because of the insufficient data provided on them.
Also, two potato varieties, Diamant and Nicola, which were submitted by National Root Crops Institute in Jos and Umudike for consideration for retroactive registratio were not accepted based on insufficient data provided on them by the institute.