Alhaji Bello Abubakar, the President, Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), says maize production in Nigeria has increased tremendously from eight to 20 million metric tonnes from 2015 to date.
Abubakar made the disclosure on Wednesday at the Nigerian Maize Conference organised by BAYER Middle Africa Ltd., to sensitise agriculture stakeholders on global best practices to increase maize yield.
BAYER is a company dealing in scientific innovation in agriculture and other fields.
The theme for the conference is: “Integrated Pest Management: Key to profitable Maize Farming’’.
According to MAAN president, the association’s partnership with BAYER since its inception in Nigeria has made a remarkable impacts in area of maize commodity in the country, besides government’s intervention through Anchor Borrowers Programme.
‘’I can testify that when BAYER started this programme last year in Nigeria, we in maize association and other farmers can testify the increase in yielding through its programme.
‘’I want to use this opportunity to tell you that maize production in Nigeria has increased from eight to 20 million metric tonnes annually from 2015 to date.
‘’This is because of the supports and some interventions by the present government and the innovative programme in maize production brought by BAYER in partnership with MAAN association, ‘’ he said.
Mr Christian Enangbo, the Head of Customer Marketing of BAYER said that the company was into partnership with agric stakeholders across the West African countries to boost maize because of the potential in the commodity.
According to Enangbo, maize is one of the most important crops that is doing well in West Africa, Africa and Nigeria in particular.
‘’We are very involved in supporting farmers to improve yield through innovation in area of mechanisation and agronomic practices identified as major challenges and to make life better.
‘’Ás you know probably in agriculture generally, is not only the inputs that should come to farmers as assistance, you also need to have some integrated programmes like personnel management, weed management programmes and what have you.
‘’So, we are not giving seeds, the herbicides, and insecticides only, we are supporting farmers with technical and good agricultural practices and that is the essence of this programme,’’ he said.
Dr Udensi Eka, a lecturer of the Department of Crop/Soil Science University of Port Harcourt explained that the essence of the forum was to expose Nigerian farmers to modern planting strategies which would improve more yielding in maize production in Nigeria.
He said that participants were expected to go back home with useful knowledge in a modern and professional method to be able to implement in maize to increase the productivity.
’If we increase productivity, that means a lot of productivity through value chain in maize will emerge and this will attract foreigners into the country to buy either starch or for other diversified products
‘’And there will be more employment in Nigeria because when farmers have enough materials to produce, they are bound to have more profits and they will expand their holdings by so doing and other people will get involved, ‘’ he said.
Eka advocated good governance policies and environment for farmers to boost not only maize but other agricultural produce to ensure food security in Nigeria.