‘How I Become Oil Palm Seedling Breeder ’, Comrade Paul I. Anza is an oil palm farmer/breeder based in Akwanga, Nasarawa State, also into breeding of coconut and oranges among others. He spoke with Daily Trust on the high yielding varieties he breeds in his farm. Excerpts:
For how long have you been into breeding?
I have been into this farming for three years now; this is my field because I studied horticulture from school.
I went into breeding because of lack of job that’s why I created job for myself. When you look at the environment we have in the north, our people don’t care much about oil palm but because I went to school I know its importance.
How many years does each of the improved varieties take to mature?
Our improved oil palm takes three years to start fruiting, and some have five to six bunch but after three to four years their yield increases to 10-12 bunches, but this happens in the improved variety which is different from the local variety.
We have improved varieties like the Tenera, Tenera plus, Nifor and other species from Malaysia. The Malaysian specie is seedless, that is it doesn’t have kernel inside. A seedling of Malaysia variety is sold for N350, while the others are sold for N300.
We also have improved varieties for coconut like the green dwarf and yellow dwarf specie which takes at least six years to start producing, while for the orange we have tangerine, sweet orange and the Ibadan sweet which all starts producing at least three years after transplanting.
The Ibadan sweet is juicier than the sweet orange, while the tangerine is bigger and juicier than the Ibadan sweet.
We also have the improved mahogany which could be grown in orchard, and split seeds for nursery which reduces the expenses of transportation. It is better to buy these seeds when you are far away.