By Onome Amuge
The National Varieties Release Committee (NVRC) has introduced 18 high yielding crop varieties targeted at boosting production levels of Nigerian farmers and enlarging the country’s agricultural productivity.
The release of the new crop varieties was announced by Oladosu Awoyemi, NVRC chairman, during its 29th meeting at the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Ibadan.
Sunday AladeleIn, NACGRAB’s registrar, who read a statement on the development, disclosed that the new varieties were approved out of a total of 25 submissions by research institutions, universities and private seed companies across the country.
He listed the varieties approved for release as two sweet sorghum varieties (SAMSORG 50SW and SAMSORG 52SW), and four multipurpose cassava varieties (UMUCASS 47, UMUCASS 48, UMUCASS 49 and UMUCASS 50).
Also listed for release are, one “poundable” cassava variety (UMUCASS 51), two white maize hybrids (SC667 and SC419), one yellow maize variety (ILOMAZ – 1), and two pro-vitamin A maize varieties (SAMMAZ 59 and SAMMAZ 60).
Others include, one medium maturing top-cross maize variety (SAMMAZ 61), two maize hybrids (SAMMAZ 62 and SAMMAZ 63), and three yam varieties (Dioscorea alata – UMUDa 31 and Dioscorea rotundata – UMUDr 29 and UMUDr 30).
The registrar noted that the sorghum varieties were released based on their high brix content and high extract yield. It also explained that the cassava varieties were released based on high quality flour product and high dry matter, the maize varieties were released based on high grain yield and excellent husk cover, tolerance to drought, low nitrogen and high pro-vitamin A content, while the three yam varieties were released based on slow rate of oxidation, ability to be eaten in pounded form, high yield, and high dry matter content.
Apart from the 18 released varieties, two hybrid cotton were just registered by the committee to serve as refuge for the released Bt Cotton, it was also disclosed.
The two hybrid cotton are (MAHYCO C 567 and MAHYCO C 571), approved for registration only.
The 18 released crop varieties were developed by the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Abuja, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.
Other developers listed include, the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, the University of Ilorin, the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Ibadan and Seed Co. Nigeria Ltd.
However, the project was not achieved solely by Nigerian researchers, as the development of the released varieties included the participation and support of several other African agricultural institutes including, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Kenya, Bayer Crop Science, Petit, South Africa and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, Kenya.