In an attempt to boost food production in Nigeria, the Federal Government has released 49 new varieties of high-yielding crops to farmers through the National Variety Release Committee, NVRC.
Oladosu Awoyemi, the president of NVRC, made this known on Wednesday at the 30th Meeting of the National Committee for the Denomination, Registration and Release of Varieties of Crops, Breeds of Cattle / Fish in Ibadan.
The Nigerian News Agency reports that the meeting was held in the Conference Room, Secretariat of the National Center for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, NACGRAB in Ibadan.
Mr Awoyemi said: “All 49 hybrid varieties of 11 crops submitted for consideration, registration and release by the Nigerian Research Institutes and Private Sector Seed Companies were approved for release.
“The crop varieties launched include two rice hybrids, namely Arize 6444 Gold and Arize TEJ Gold.
“Two varieties of oats rich in protein, namely SAMOAT 1 and SAMOAT 2, three varieties of durum wheat, namely LACRI-WHIT 12D and LACRI-WHIT 13D.
“Three provitamin A cassava hybrids, namely UMUCASS 52, UMUCASS 53 and UMUCASS 54.
“Nineteen varieties of corn, namely ILOMAZ 2; HAKIM 1, HAKIM 2; HAKIM 3; DK7500; SAMMAZ 64, 65, 66, 67; TECO WE8206 drought; WACQH6, WAC55E, WAC14M5, among others. ”
Regarding NVRC’s activities, he said that the decree established by the committee makes it mandatory “that anyone who wants to launch new varieties of crops in the Nigerian agricultural community send samples of that seed to the research institute that is relevant to him.”
“The research institute will test said seed in the ecological zones for which it is recommended.
“And, when they are satisfied that it is suitable for cultivation in Nigeria, they will take it to the committee for official consideration for release in the registry.
“We have a national registry of everything important that is produced in Nigeria that has been satisfied by the committee.
“And if there is a new investigative officer who wants to go into any crop, he has to go to the registry to see what has been done in the past before he can start now with what to do in the future,” he explained.
In his remarks, Mohammed Alhassan, the Agriculture Commissioner in Jigawa, who sponsored the durum wheat launch, said: “This is the first time that durum wheat (durum wheat) will be registered and delivered to Nigerian farmers.
According to Mr. Alhassan, durum wheat has a very high yield, a very low fertilizer requirement, large grains, very attractive, and even the price is different in the markets, which makes farmers earn large profits.
He said the Jigawa farmers’ expectations were to continually improve the varieties of various crops planted in the state.
Alhassan said the vision of the state government “is to make sure that the country’s economy improves through agriculture for the benefit of Nigerians, especially the people of Jigawa.
Furthermore, Shehu Ado, National Maize Research Coordinator, said that the development of the new crop varieties was encouraging.
According to Mr. Ado, some crops, which were not even grown in the country before, such as oats, “are now grown to improve the availability of food in the country.
“If we can grow our own oats, that amount of money spent in foreign exchange on importing oats will be conserved for the country.”
In his comments, Olusegun Ojo, Director General of the National Agricultural Seed Council, NASC, said that the 49 that have been officially published by the committee will be transmitted to the council.
Mr. Ojo said the council would arrange for a wide multiplication of the crop for distribution to all farmers across the country.
“Farmers’ expectations will be higher yields, better resistance crops and, at the end of the day, what farmers will take home as a result of higher yields will be higher productivity and more income in their pockets.
“The process of releasing a crop for wide distribution involves testing the seed in research institutes and in farmers’ fields across the country.
“Only when the farmers’ representatives have accepted that the crop is good for them and that the crop is better than the old varieties, do we bring it to the committee for consideration for official publication,” he said.
In his comments, Abdullahi Mustapha, Director General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency, NABDA, said that the agency had the responsibility to investigate the genetic components of crops.
“Looking at it from that angle, this is transforming crops and bringing in new varieties of crops; it affects the constituent genes so the genetic threat is what defines the quality, the yield and the traits there.