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Hybrid seeds will cut Nigeria’s 8m tonnes maize deficit – MD

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The Managing Director, EcoBasic Seeds Company, Mr. Brighton Karume, says the company has produced 10 varieties of hybrid maize seeds that can triple maize production in the country.

Karume made this known while addressing a press conference on Saturday in Kaduna to mark the company’s one-year anniversary.

He said that it was time for Nigerian farmers to reduce their concentration on Open Pollinated Varieties of Maize and embrace Hybrid varieties.

This, he said, would cut the current eight million tonnes maize deficit in the country.

“Hybrid varieties yield better and have the capacity of leapfrogging Nigeria to the attainment of self-sufficiency in maize production,” he added.

According to him, the company will bridge the existing gap in early generation seed production in Nigeria and drive the seed sector in West Africa with the production of high-quality and pure seeds.

“Nigeria can double the size of its maize production if 50 per cent of maize farmers across the country adopt hybrid maize varieties.

“Ninety per cent of farmers still focus on using the old methods of seeds while only 10 per cent of Nigerian farmers use hybrid seeds, which makes it impossible for the country to meet the national maize demand,” he added.

Karume said that the company had kept to its plan of bridging the wide gap between the foundation and certified seed production in the country.

This, he said, was to give farmers the opportunity to maximize profit and expand their production with the availability of quality and 100per cent seed purity.

“We have been able to transform into an exciting organization working without growers to cultivate over 50 hectarages of maize and cowpeas (beans) foundation seeds across Nigeria.

“The company has so far established about 60 different demonstration sites across Kaduna, Niger and Kano state, with about 10 different varieties of hybrid maize including Sammaz 62, Sammaz 63 and Sammaz 68 drought tolerant and high yield.”

The managing director said the seed company has developed a business-to-business model, transacting directly with registered seed companies in Nigeria.

He said that the seed companies have committed to placing foundation seed orders of various hybrids produced by the company, including the new cowpea seed, ahead of the 2023 planting season.

“We are convinced that with sustained investment, Nigeria will be able to meet its annual maize deficit which currently stands at eight million metric tons

“In Africa today, Nigeria is not leading in maize production but grows the largest maize hectarage on the continent.

“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,” he said.

Karume said farmers must embrace technology which is playing a very crucial role in agricultural productivity.

He added that hybrid technology brings about improved varieties, helping farmers in other countries in their quest for food and nutritional security.

“Nigeria cannot afford to miss out. As a new entrant to the seed sector in Nigeria, we also get a lot of support from our local and international stakeholders and partners.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that EcoBasic Seed Company was established in Nigeria in 2021 to foster an increased supply of high-quality foundation seeds across West Africa.

NAN also reports that journalists were taken round one of the company’s demonstration sites located along Zaria-Kaduna highway. (NAN)

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