The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, has revealed an ongoing plan to develop a maize variety that can withstand flood and remain in waters for up to 14 days.
This was made known during an interaction with newsmen on Tuesday in Zaria, by the Executive Director of the institute, Prof. Muhammad Ishiyaku.
Ishiyaku stated that one of the institute fundamental focus areas of genetic improvement programmes was to develop crop that could withstand drought and flood.
He said that the development of the flood resistant maize variety was to ameliorate the effect of flood on farmers’ investments, as climate change has become an undeniable natural phenomenon.
“To date, the institute has developed and released up to 54 different varieties of maize including hybrid among them. The genetically improved maize can be grown in Azare, Bauchi State, some parts of Jigawa and Katsina states which are dryer parts of northern Nigeria.
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“The institute has also developed and released 47 improved varieties of sorghum and the improvement include the ability to do early enough even under short rainfall season,’’ He said.
Ishiyaku said the institute had developed up to 29 different improve varieties of groundnut which include those that could be used to produce confectioneries and others and solely for vegetable oil production.
According to him, sunflower is an oil producing crop like groundnut and the institute had developed four different varieties of sunflower.
“If the two (Sunflower and groundnut) are put together, and production is boosted, Nigeria will no import vegetable oil. We have also developed 13 different varieties of cotton which have different length of fibre.
“The fibre quality of cotton determines its utilisation potential in the textile industry and other sundry things on which the cotton is required,’’ he said.
Talking on cowpea, he said the institute had released an improved variety that was resistant to pest called Sampi 20 that require very low spray of insecticides.
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“Relatively, instead of spraying the other cowpea varieties for about seven to eight times, this new variety would do very well with only two targeted sprays. We have also developed soil fertility management, something that is very difficult for farmers. We developed ways of rotating different crops to ensure the sustenance of the fertility of the soil,’’ he said.
The Director said the institute would leverage on agriculture extension workers technologies such as conventional media outfits and social media, such as the farmer help-lines which provide 24 hours services in which farmers can ask questions about technologies.
Reported by OLADIMEJI OGUNTOYINBO,
🌳FARMING NEWS TODAY,
WORLD FARMERS CENTRE.