By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria
The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, is to collaborate with the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Department of Chemical Engineering of the University to develop Artemisia industry for Nigeria.
Prof. Muhammad Ishiyaku, the Executive Director of IAR, Professor Muhammad Faguji Ishiyaku made this known during an interaction with journalists in his office.
Ishiyaku said the mandate of the institute is for national genetic improvement of cotton, maize, cowpea, groundnut, sunflower, Artemisia and Jatropher plant.
“Artemisia is a plant which produces artemisinin used in the production of Artemisinin-based Combination Drug Therapy (ACTs) used for the treatment of malaria”.
According to him, Artemisia is a plant which is useful in the treatment of malaria; the anti-malaria drug is extracted from the plant.
“We have been given the responsibility to develop a variety of artemisia that would have high yield of the chemical compound.
He said the institute would strengthen collaboration with Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Department of Chemical Engineering to develop Artemisia industry for Nigeria.
Faguji Ishiyaku said Jatropher plant, known as `bini-da-zugu’ in Hausa language, is very good at providing bio-diesel and widely used in the cosmetic industry.
He said the institute would also focus on developing groundnut, sorghum and cowpea that would provide feed for livestock.
The Director further said the institute was not only concentrating on the direct food aspect of the crops but all the agricultural systems that would make the system more productive, including the development of livestock industry.
While maintaining that by diversifying into the production of feed for animals from the genetically improved crops, the institute intends to curb farmers and herders conflict, especially in the Northern part of the country.
Similarly, Ishiyaku said the institute has developed flakes known as “Kanzo” in Hausa from maize and sorghum in different taste and flavours ranging from salty, sweetened, spiced and other flavors.
The director called on entrepreneurs to partner with the institute to explore different business avenues, saying, “the institute has also developed a bio fertilizer.