The National Varieties Release Committee (NVRC) has approved the release of 18 new high-yielding crop varieties to boost Nigeria’s productivity and the food security initiatice of government. Various organizations were involved in developing these varieties, including the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) Zaria, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) Abuja, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan, 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.
In a statement released by the Registrar of the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Sunday Aladele, a total of 25 varieties were sent in for approval, and the 18 varieties that have been approved are:
- Two sweet sorghum varieties (SAMSORG 50SW and SAMSORG 52SW)
- Four multipurpose cassava varieties (UMUCASS 47, UMUCASS 48, UMUCASS 49 and UMUCASS 50).
- One “poundable” cassava variety (UMUCASS 51)
- Two white maize hybrids (SC667 and SC419)
- One yellow maize variety (ILOMAZ – 1)
- Two pro-vitamin A maize varieties (SAMMAZ 59 and SAMMAZ 60)
- One medium maturing top – cross maize variety (SAMMAZ 61)
- Two maize hybrids (SAMMAZ 62 and SAMMAZ 63)
- Three yam varieties (Dioscorea alata – UMUDa 31, Dioscorea rotundata – UMUDr 29 and UMUDr 30)
The reasons for the varieties chosen differ. The sorghum varieties were chosen for the high brix (sugar) content and high extract yield, and the cassava variety were chosen based on the high quality flour products that can come out of it. The maize varieties are said to have a high grain yield, good tolerance to drought, low nitrogen levels and high pro-vitamin A content.
The new varieties were also developed with international organizations across Africa, including The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, Kenya; Bayer Crop Science, Petit, South Africa; and the African Agricultural technology Foundation, Kenya.