Daily Trust (Abuja)

West Africa: Maize Breeding - Nigerian Team Wins West Africa Award

The Nigerian team of maize breeders was declared winner of the 2011 best breeders for Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) Project at a ceremony in Ghana recently.

A statement made available to Daily Trust noted that the award was the second time the Nigerian breeders had won since inception of the DTMA project in 2007. The first time was in 2007. The DTMA Project team in Nigeria includes researchers from the Institute for Agricultural Research of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, the University of Ilorin, the Obafemi Awolowo University, and University of Maiduguri, seed companies and the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services of the Ahmadu Bello University.

The team was adjudged the best by a panel of judges who evaluated the contribution of the teams of the DTMA projects participating countries which include Benin Republic, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria.

The team in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture succeeded in the registration and release of a total of 17 drought tolerant varieties and hybrids in 2009 and 2011. The DT maize varieties released in 2009 comprised six hybrids and seven open pollinated varieties while in 2011 four open pollinated varieties with value added traits were released.

The new DTMA maize varieties include extra-early, early, intermediate and late maturity groups for the various maize ecologies of Nigeria and other West African countries.

The National Coordinator for the Maize Research in Nigeria, Prof. Shehu Garki Ado who received the award unbehalf of the Nigerian team said that his team would continue to improve maize varieties to withstand the vagaries of weather in the changing climate to make sub-Saharan Africa self-sufficient in food with increased income to maize farmers.

The DTMA project goal seek to develop superior maize germplasm with 1t/ha yields increase over existing varieties and reach 30-40 million farmers in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015.

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