Delta State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon. Austin Chikezie has urged farmers to take advantage of the new improved and high quality seeds varieties of maize to increase their maize production in the State
Hon. Chikezie stated this on the occasion of the ceremony of the Farmers’ Field Day on New Released Varieties of Maize at Ejeme-Aniogor, Aniocha South Local Government Area, Delta State where the newly improved maize varieties was tested.
According the Commissioner, “Our vision was that maize should be cultivated on a large scale using improved high yielding disease resistant varieties. Presently the total output of maize is estimated at 6,700 metric tons, we would be glad if this output could be doubled by the introduction of the improved and high quality seeds.
“The trust of the State Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources is to encourage large scale food production including maize seeds for distribution to farmers. The new maize varieties are said to have higher yield than what is obtainable in the State.”
The Commissioner stated that using the new improved varieties of maize, would go a long way in ensuring food security and sustain agricultural development in the State in line with the SMART agenda of the Okowa administration.
He listed some the State Government’s programmes and projects executed to ensure food security to include oil palm production, rice value chain programme, cassava production programme, CBN Anchor Borrowers programme, seed yam production, live stock production, farm inputs delivery, agricultural extension services among others.
While thanking the national Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) for educating farmers on the use of the improved and high quality seeds he urged the association to do more by sensitizing farmers on the new varieties of seeds and foster a closer linkage with the State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Earlier, the Director General, National Agriculture and Seed Council, Dr. Phillip Ojo, stated that the event was organised in collaboration with the Maize Association of Nigeria and Seed Companies to drive home the importance of seed in increasing farmers’ income and productivity.
“This programme is unique and it will go a long way in enhancing the production of improved maize and other crops in Delta State and its environs and Nigeria at large,” saying, “Nigeria requires over 500,000 metric tons of improved seeds of maize, rice, sorghum, cowpea, soybeans, and groundnuts every year. Currently, Nigeria is producing an estimate of less than 300 metric tons of the national requirement. Another equally disturbing challenge is low adoption of improved crop varieties which ultimately results in low productivity.”
The Regional Director, Mr. Mmoeyak Usua, urged farmers to take advantage of the lessons and benefits offered by the field day which would bring about tremendous increased in the yield and production of maize and other crops in the coming years based on the green alternative agenda of the present government.
Present at the event were the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Sir Austin Oghoro, the Chairman of Maize Association Nigeria, Delta State chapter, Chief Agbigbi; the Chairman of Pepper, tomatoes Farmers, Processors, Marketers and Exporters Association of Nigeria, Rev Goworo P.K; Directors in the Ministry and others dignitaries.