In its bid to address the productivity gap in maize production in Nigeria, stakeholders have proffered innovative solutions to assist farmers maximize their farm use and secure their harvest from pests and diseases.
At the third edition of maize conference, organised by Bayer Nigeria Limited— a German agronomical company, titled: “Much More Maize,” the participants spoke on the need for quality products rather than consumption; the use of improved seeds for agricultural value and quality maize production; and opportunities to sustain maize smallholder farmers in Nigeria, among others.
In his welcome address, the Country Cluster Commercial Lead for Bayer, Lauren Parez, disclosed that as a responsible and sustainable company, it has decided to continue its efforts in West Africa and more particularly in Nigeria to develop maize.
He said Bayer wishes to promote the culture of providing farmers with high-performance products to eradicate the environmental constraints in agricultural yields.
National President of Maize Association of Nigeria (MAN), Alhaji Abubakar Bello, who spoke on the topic: “Revolutionising the maize production in Nigeria,” said maize can provide a major source of calories in Nigeria and other parts of the world, as the crop offers the promise of meeting Nigeria’s food needs in the current millennium.
According to him, it is one of the major crops that have about 40 per cent of the land area under agricultural production and accounts for about 43 per cent of the maize that grows in Africa. He listed Niger, Kaduna, Ogun, Kogi, Taraba, Ondo, Katsina, Oyo, Plateau, and Kano as states with the highest maize area under cuspidation, which accounts for 60 per cent of maize production in the country.
Director, National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Dr. Olusegun Ojo, said “much more maize is needed to feed the needs of our increasing global population,” adding that a strong seed system that connects all stakeholders is essential for delivering quality seeds and improved crop varieties which are in turn crucial for global food security and survival of small holders’ farmers.
Ojo explained that the Seed Act was reviewed and amended through series of processes involving actors from national and international levels. One of the recommendations in the new Act, he said is modification of penalties.
The Technical Lead for Maize, MAN, Dr. Ajala, who joined the conference through the virtual space, explained the effect of weed on maize production, using the Bayer Nigeria agrochemicals, Lagon, the pre-emergence herbicide to explain the right usage on maize crops.
The company’s Country Sales Manager, Mr. Tope Banjo, in his closing remarks said maize is a very important crop in Nigeria both for local consumption and industrial use, but farmers have not been able to make a profit, adding that it is the reason why Bayer has come up with a much more maize programme.