The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) says the newly released TELA Maize variety in Nigeria will enable farmers benefit N58 billion annually if cultivated by 10 per cent of Nigerian farmers.
Prof. Mohammed Ishiyaku, Executive Director, IAR made this known on Monday while addressing newsmen at a press conference in Abuja.
Ishiyaku said that the TELA maize variety would also safeguard maize production in the face of climate change.
He said TELA had shown 19 per cent higher yield than the conventional maize varieties because of its ability to withstand drought.
“Farmers will benefit N58 billion annually if only 1.2 million hectares of maize are cultivated out of the 12.5 million hectares planted, as a result of its yield advantage.
“Farmers will save N26 billion annually on chemical insecticides used on conventional maize,” Ishiyaku said.
He said that it was estimated that N268 billion was spent annually to purchase chemical insecticides used to spray maize in Nigeria.
Ishiyaku said that TELA maize varieties were genetically modified to tolerate mild drought and to self-protect against certain insect pests especially stem borer and fall armyworm (FAW).
“Adopting those technologies is a responsibility left to farmers who are smart and know what is good for them once they see it. It is safe hence Nigerian farmers should also benefit,” he said.
Ishiyaku confirmed that the TELA Bt maize had been under cultivation in South Africa by smallholder farmers since 2016.
Prof. Garuba Sharubutu, Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria also spoke at the occasion.
Sharubutu said that all agricultural research in the country was tailored towards achieving the Federal Government policies and programme on food security and sufficiency.
He said Nigerians had no reasons to fear any product from any of the government funded research institutes.
Sharubutu said this was because all necessary measures were taken to ensure they followed approved regulations guiding the research.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Genetically Modified TELA maize varieties build on gains of a decade of excellent breeding work to develop drought resistant maize varieties for African farmers.
Over 120 varieties available to farmers known as Drought TEGO including SAMAZ 62 and SAMAZ 63 which were approved for farmers in December 2020.