FG approves new maize variety, Tela Maize for cultivation in Nigeria -GCFRNG
Will Save Nigeria N268bn Spent Annually on Pest Control – Researchers
The Federal Government granted environmental approval for the evaluation and open cultivation of a new variety of corn, Tela Maize, developed by researchers from the Institute of Agricultural Research, IAR, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, which resists the fall armyworm, the borers of the stem and tolerates moderate droughts.
The Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency, NBMA, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, affirmed this when presenting the TELA Maize approval certificate to the Executive Director, IAR, Prof. Ishiyaku Mohammed.
Dr. Ebegba said that the approval was granted after considering the advice of the National Biosafety Committee, the National Biosafety Technical Subcommittee, and the risk management report provided by the applicant.
According to him, “The Agency was convinced that there are no known adverse impacts for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, taking into account the risk to human health. The permit, in accordance with this decision, is understood without prejudice to other current legal requirements.
“This permit authorizes the permittee and the persons covered by the permit to market the TELA maize genetically modified for drought tolerance and insect resistance,” he said.
Earlier, during the public presentation of the new variety, the NBMA Director General warned however that the agency will not hesitate to withdraw the permit and prosecute if there is any reason to do so.
In his remarks, the Executive Director of Zaria Ahmadu Bello University Agricultural Research Institute, Professor Ishayaku Mohammed, said that the new pest-resistant variety of Tella maize would save the country some 268 billion naira spent annually on the import of insecticides to fumigate the farm. Produce against a destructive pest and responsible for low productivity or yield.
Ishayaku said that the new variety also has the capacity to close the gap that exists in the country’s corn demand deficit, which is 4 million tons.
He said the variety has the potential to skyrocket productivity to 3 tons and 30 bags per hectare compared to what can be obtained at 1 ton and 16 bags per hectare, respectively.
The University Don said: “It is truly inspiring for IAR to secure NBMA approval for the commercial release of insect resistant, drought tolerant corn (TELA MAIZE).
“This further highlights IAR’s ability and commitment to provide effective solutions to agricultural problems facing our farmers and to optimize food security for Nigerians. The approval will pave the way to combat the devastating effects of drought and insect infestations by deploying this new variety of corn in our agricultural system.
“The next step is to further evaluate the performance of this new variety by farmers in their fields in all major maize growing belts in Nigeria. Thereafter, we will seek further approval from the National Variety Release Committee before making the seeds commercially available for farmers to plant in the 2023 growing season, ”he said.
Similarly, AATF Executive Director Dr. Canisius Kanangire said that the approval has shown that Nigeria is truly the giant that is leading the way in Africa and ensures that small farmers benefit from life-changing technologies that have transformed agriculture in other parts of the world. .
“The approval of the Nigerian government is a sign that we are making good progress, especially in our quest to expand options for small farmers on the continent to benefit from their work through the use of affordable technologies that improve productivity and reduce insect pest incidents ”. infestation.
“TELA corn comes at a time when farmers are spending so much to reduce insect and pest attacks, as well as to fight the problem of drought. With TELA Maize, Nigerian farmers will be relieved from the frequent and constant chemical sprays that affect their health. Savings from chemical use can be converted to address other family needs, ”added Dr. Kanangire.
Meanwhile, the TELA Maize Project in Nigeria is part of an international consortium coordinated by AATF, involving Bayer, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the National Agricultural Research Systems of seven countries, including Ethiopia. , Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda since 2018. The project builds on the benefits of a decade of excellent breeding work to develop conventional climate-resistant and drought-tolerant maize known as TEGO drought varieties.