Nigeria spends N268b on farm chemicals yearly, IAR says
The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) has said that Nigeria spends N268 billion yearly on the purchase of chemicals to spray farms.
It advocated the integration of more farming technology to boost Nigeria’s agriculture and also decried the high cost of farming chemicals in the country,
The Executive Director of the Institute, Prof. Mohammed Ishiyaku, who stated this in Abuja, said the TELA maize varieties when adopted by just 10 per cent of Nigerian farmers will give additional cost benefit of N58 billion yearly to the country because of the yield advantage of 19 per cent compared with conventional maize varieties currently grown by farmers.
He said: “The choice of technologies rests with the farmers. However, based on the mandate given to us by the government, it is our obligation to develop those technology options with potential high economic and food security benefits to farmers and our country.
“TELA maize varieties are genetically modified to tolerate mild drought and to self-protect against certain insect pests especially stem borer and fall armyworm (FAW). Adopting those technologies is a responsibility left to farmers, who are smart and know what is good for them.
“In addition to drought, incidences of insect-pests, especially the recent breakout of the invasive FAW is a big threat to maize production in Africa with an estimated yearly yield loss worth $2.48 – 6.19 billion in 12 countries including Nigeria.”
In his remarks, the Prof. Garuba Sharubutu, Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) said that agricultural research in the country is tailored towards achieving the federal government policies and programme on food security and sufficiency.
He said Nigerians have no reason to fear any product from any of the government-funded research institutes as all necessary measures are taken to ensure they followed approved regulations guiding such research.
Ishiyaku, further noted that the TELA maize has been under cultivation in South Africa by smallholder farmers since 2016, adding that “farmers are already benefiting from the varieties in protecting against the target pests, especially FAW. It is safe and hence Nigerian farmers should also benefits”.
IAR puts Nigeria’s spend on farm chemicals at N268b yearly