A director with the African Agricultural Technological Foundation (AATF), Kenya, Dr. Sylvester Oikeh, has said Tela Maize Technology would go a long way in boosting maize production in the country.
Tela Maize technology is the best option available for Nigerian farmers as far as maize cultivation is concerned, he said.
According to him, the technology is not new in Africa, but was recently introduced to Nigeria.
He disclosed this when stakeholders from research institutions such as the Institute of Agriculture Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, National Biotechnological Agency Abuja, African Agricultural Technological Foundation (AATF) met at a one-day interactive seminar with farmers in Kaduna State.
He said the Tela Technology has been around in African countries such as South Africa, Mozambique and Ghana, but it only came to Nigeria a few years ago.
“Currently, Nigeria cultivates 5 to 6 million hectares of land, but only gets one tonne of maize per hectare, but in South Africa, the yield per hectare is 5.6 tonnes. This is made possible with the use of Tela Maize Technology.
“If you are growing maize on a hectare of land with the normal maize, you will have about a hundred tonnes of maize, while a farmer growing maize on a hectare of land with the technology, would harvest about 140 tonnes of maize,” he said.
Dr. Rose Gidado, a Director Agricultural Department, National Biotechnology Agency Abuja, explained that Tela is a genetically modified seedling of maize that is meant to resist attacks from fall Army and Stem Bora worms, which have ravaged maize and caused financial losses to farmers.
She further revealed that Tela Maize gives higher yields than the conventional maize. Where the ordinary maize gives about 1.4 tonnes, the Tela gives about 5.6 tonnes.
“Since it yields more tonnes, it means more money for Nigerians farmers.”
Another agricultural expert, Prof Rabiu Adamu, Principal Investigator Tela Maize, Institute of Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, said if Tela Maize is fully adopted, Nigerians farmers would harvest about seven tonnes of maize per hectare, instead of the two to three tonnes, which would address food insecurity in maize production in the country.