The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) has revealed that the newly developed variety of maize called TELA Maize has shown resistance to Fall Armyworms. According to the agency, the trials conducted have shown progress through the harvest.
According to research by IITA experts, FAW infect more than 80 plant species including maize, rice, and millet, with maize as its most preferred plant. Loses of approximately 100% have been recorded by farmers in Nigeria. Overall cost of losses equals approximately $13,383.
According to the Director-General of NABDA, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, the agency is set to partner with the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University Zaria to promote genetically improved maize variety. The partnership would enhance biotechnology usage, research and development in agriculture. Mustapha added that this would revive the sector and make it a net contributor to Nigeria’s GDP. The director – general faulted the misconception that genetically produced crops are not edible, adding that anyone with evidence that it causes ailments in humans should come forward with it.
The Principal Investigator of the project, Prof. Rabiu Adamu, revealed that over recent years, maize yield has been less than three tons per hectare, so this research would focus on increasing productivity. This new see variety developed by the institute has the potential to increase output to over eight tons per hectare. Adamu also revealed that the institute is presently working on new hybrids and varieties that are resistant to drought and pests.