THE Executive Director of Institute for Agricultural Research, Professor Mohammed Ishiyaku has said that the newly released TELA maize variety will save the country over N268 billion is spends annually on pesticides to control pests on maize.
He also said new maize variety in Nigeria will expand farmers options to either grow GM TELA varieties or conventional Drought TEGO varieties or their local open-pollinated varieties just like farmers in other part of the world.
’’The choice of technologies to use rests with the farmers.
However, based on the mandate given to us by government, it is our obligation to develop those technology options with potential high economic and food security benefits to farmers and our country,” said Prof.
Mohammed Ishiyaku, Executive Director, IAR when addressing newsmen at a press conference on Monday in Abuja.
He said farmers in the country who spend up to N50,000 or more per acre to buy chemicals and spray against these target pests will get some relief and appreciate the TELA technology more in terms of higher yield and the savings from the purchase of chemicals for spraying their crop.
“It is estimated that N268 billion is spent annually in the purchase of chemical insecticides used to spray maize in Nigeria.
This is a direct benefit from savings in that regard.
The second major benefit is prevention of crop failure to the effect of drought which is becoming frequent these recent years,” he added.
Professor Ishiyaku said that TELA maize varieties are genetically modified to tolerate mild drought and to self-protect against certain insect pests especially stem borer and fall armyworm (FAW).
“Adopting those technologies is a responsibility left to farmers who are smart and know what is good for them once they see it.
Thanking the Federal Government for approving release of the variety to farmers, Professor Ishiyaku confirmed that the TELA Bt maize has been under cultivation in South Africa by smallholder farmers since 2016.
‘’Farmers are already benefiting from the varieties in protecting against the target pests, especially FAW.
It is safe and hence Nigerian farmers should also benefit,” he said.
He said that with the recent approval given by the National Biosafety Management Agency, TELA maize varieties will be evaluated by farmers across the maize growing regions in the country for them to select varieties that they prefer for cultivation.
TELA Maize Variety To Save Nigeria N268bn Spent Annually On Pesticides —Scientist https://tribuneonlineng.