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NABDA Calls for Teamwork to Achieve Food, Nutrition Security

A stakeholder in the agriculture sector has said Nigeria cultivates the largest hectares of maize in Africa, but the country is not rated because 80% of its annual yield is lost pre- and post harvest. Specifically, the Managing Director of EcoBasic Seed, Brighton Karume, stated this during a tour of one of the company’s demonstration farms at Kwanar Farakwai along Kaduna – Zaria road at the weekend. Karume explained that because the majority of Nigerian farmers depend on Open Pollinated Variety (OPV) rather than high yield hybrid, which is all weather friendly, the country only enjoys 20% of its annual maize production yields. According to him, with the need to bridge the gap between foundation and certified seeds, the introduction of technology-driven hybrid maize seeds can enable Nigerian farmers to enjoy a bumper yield, avoid losses due to adverse weather conditions and maximise profit on their produce. He said, “In Africa today, Nigeria is not leading in maize production but grows the largest maize hectare on the continent and this is hugely due to its inability to utilize the opportunities provided by the introduction of hybrid varieties which enable the farmer to produce more from the same old piece of land. “Technology now plays a very crucial role in agricultural productivity and hybrid technology brings about improved varieties which is helping farmers in other countries in their quest for food and nutritional security. “It is important that our farmers reduce their concentration on Open Pollinated Varieties (OPV) and embrace Hybrid Varieties which yield better, is drought resistant and has the capacity of leapfrogging Nigeria to the attainment of self-sufficiency in maize production. “A year ago, we debuted with the promise of bridging the wide gap between foundation and certified seed production in the country as a way of giving our farmers the opportunity to maximize profit, and expand their production with the availability of quality and 100% seed purity. We have been able to transform into an exciting organisation working with out-growers to cultivate over 50 hectares of maize and cowpea (beans) foundation seeds across Nigeria.”

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