BY JULIET NONYELUM
African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has disclosed that TELA maize would boast farmers yeild in Nigeria by 43 per cent.
The Coordinator of TELA maize project across, Nigeria, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzanian, South Africa and Uganda, Dr. Sylvester Oikeh made the disclosure in Kaduna on Wednesday during a town hall meeting on TELA Maize Nigeria with Maize Farmers/Processors and Marketers in Kaduna State.
“We have seen from our trials over Africa that farmers growing this technology get more yeild. If our farmers adopt this technology, they can easily increase their yeild as much as 43 per cent.
“This means that, if you are growing the TELA maize, you will have more yeild, if you don’t do that, you have to spray your crops against this pest minimum of 3 times per a season using 3 different chemicals. it reduces extra cost of chemicals and spraying”.
According to him, TELA maize is developed to be resistence to drought, it would also address some of the problems faced by farmers.
“However, we have seen that people say, it is not safe but we know why they are saying that, it is political, we know it’s safe. We have demonstrated it safety even before it’s approval. Environmental Management Agency have done all the evaluation to show that farmers and consumers are protected, they have cleared the issue of safety, it is safe”.
“Currently Nigeria plant 6 to 6.5 million hectares but our yield is still at the level of average, 1.6 tons per a hectare.
“In countries where they have adopted this technology like in South Africa, their yeild is 5.6 tons per a hectare. with the current issue of climate change, drought are becoming more frequent, more pest are coming in.
“We have pest called Fall Army worm which is ravaging maize, it came into Africa in 2016 and it’s ravaging maize in trillions of naira but with a technology like TELA maize it gives protection and also drought tolerance which helps farmers who may have loose their crops to have something”.
The Director, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Dr Rose Maxwell Gidado explained that TELA maize is a genetically modified maize that works against worm attacks.
According to her, each year farmers rush for the seeds because they have experienced the yeild, the seeds are resilience.
On his part, Prof Rabiu Adamu, from Institute of Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Principal investigator of TELA Maize in Nigeria, said “we trying to ensure that Nigerian farmers grow hybrid of maize that will boost security in Nigeria”.