TELA Maize Project Seeks Support Of Stakeholders

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African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Project Manager on TELA Maize, Dr. Sylvester Oikeh

By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria 

The TELA Maize Project of Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU)Zaria has sought the support of traditional and religious leaders, other key stakeholders on its genetically improved maize variety that is resistant to drought and  stem bora.

Prof. Rabiu Adamu, Principal Investigator of the Project made the appeal during a tour of TELA Maize Confined Field Trial (CFT) at Institute for Agricultural Research Farm on Thursday in Zaria.  

He said the activities were organized for the religious leaders, traditional rulers farmers and media  to enable them see what the project was  doing to boost the production under TELA Maize Project in Nigeria.

The Principal Investigator noted that maize production faces challenges of pests such as stem bora and cessation of rain.

To address the challenges, Adamu said the project decided to come-up with a maize variety that is drought-tolerant and insect pest protect maize available and affordable to small farmers in the country.

 Adamu said the drought-tolerant and insect pest protected maize variety will help produce more reliable harvest and better grain quality due to reduced insect damage for smallholder farmers.

Earlier, Prof Muhammad-Faguji Ishiyaku, Executive Director, Institute For Agricultural Research said there  are  diseases and pests   of  crops  plants  for   which  cannot be treated except with   the  use  of  harmful  insecticides.

“I.A.R   just  like the  Federal  Government  of  Nigeria  believes in the  potentials of modern  science  called  biotechnology  through  genetic  engineering to address these challenges,’’ he said.

Ishiyaku said IAR  has committed  scientists,  facilities and  laboratories  to  see that  Nigerian  farming  problems  are  curtailed  through the   deployment of this modern science.

“Along this line, the institute has developed TELA Maize variety that is resistant to insect and drought

 “This Bio-Science or Biotechnology Engineering has been associated in some quarters by some people who don’t know science well; that biotechnology products cause cancer.

“This is unfounded and no scientific evidence has indicated or associated the products of this science with any cancer; any disease or health disruptions whatsoever,’’ he said.

While speaking on behalf of Islamic religious leaders, Sheikh Muhammad Bn-Othman commended the Institute for its efforts to  enhance food security in the country. 

He also appealed to government to invest more in agricultural research activities and strengthen security.

Ven. Michael Adogbo, who represented Archbishop Ali-Buba Lamido of Diocese of Wusasa (Anglican Communion) also re-echoed the need for enhanced security to enable the farmers return to their farms. 

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