By Jimoh Babatunde
Two new hybrids of maize that will help improve productivity and income of farmers in Nigeria have been released at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IART), Obafemi Awolowo University in Ibadan.
The new maize hybrids – Ife Maizehyb-07 and Ife Maizehyb-08 were released by Dr. Samuel Adelowo Olakojo and his team with the support from Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
The grant from AGRA seeks to increase the production and productivity of smallholder farmers in the humid forest ecologies of Nigeria by developing and promoting ten top cross hybrids maize adaptable to the region.
The just released hybrid maize which took over five years of intensive research work to develop, register and release the varieties, have potential yields of 7.0/ha and 8.5t/ha respectively and other have qualities that include early maturity.
The new hybrids, which have potential yields of 7.0/ha and 8.5t/ha respectively, have qualities that include early maturity; advantage during erratic rainfall seasons especially in the second planting in South West Nigeria, and grain size and high starch content, which are good for livestock feed mill.
For instance, the Ife Maizehyb-08 weighs better and has high energy to release from feed.
Dr. Toure Aboubacar, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)’s Program Officer for Crop Improvement and Variety Adoption speaking on the release said: “AGRA’s strategy to meet the needs of smallholder farmers across Africa is yielding great results.
“We are very happy that our support to national research institutions to develop, register and release improved varieties of staple crops such as maize is paying off as exemplified by the release of these two new maize varieties.
There is a real gap between production and needs of maize in the southern part of Nigeria which is mainly due to demographic increase, drought, diseases, new requirements from end-users like poultry feed, livestock feed, breweries, processors among others, and appearance of agri-business farmers who are requesting hybrids.
The humid forest ecologies of Nigeria are great potential zones for maize production which can help to reduce this gap with the availability of high yielding adapted hybrids such the Ife Maizehyb-07 and Ife Maizehyb-08.
Dr. Toure Aboubacar added that AGRA work is aligned with the Nigerian government’s policy on maize value chain development.
The Ife Maize hyb-07, which was formerly called SW5-OB x IART-INBRED1 is a top cross hybrid of ART/98/SW5-OB x IART Inbred 1 pedigree.
It has forest and derived savanna agro-ecologies adaptation with 98 days maturity period, and 7.0t/ha potential yield character.
It is also tolerant to maize streak virus, rust, leaf blight, and curvularia leaf spot with an outstanding dent floury grain character containing starch, ash, fat, and protein. Similarly, the Ife Maize-hyb 08, formerly called Ile 1 –OB x IAR-INBRED 1, has a potential yield of 8.50/ha and 110 days to maturity.
Ife Maize hyb-08 has similar other characteristics as the Ife Maize hyb-07.
Having achieved this major milestone, AGRA, in collaboration with IAR&T, will now engage in demonstration and awareness creation activities to prepare for a major commercialization of these new varieties which are expected to transform the farming lives of millions of rice farmers, not only in Nigeria, but across West Africa and beyond.