By Mahdi Waziri Isa

The of Director of the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Professor Ado Adamu Yusuf revealed that the Institute conducted over 150 research projects in 2023 with outstanding results and will be focusing on about 200 new research projects in 2024 to lift Nigerian farmers out of poverty and ensure economic sustainability.

Professor Yusuf disclosed this achievement at the IAR 2024 Annual Research Review and Planning Meeting on Tuesday, 23rd April, 2024 at the Balarabe Tanimu Conference Hall, IAR Samaru.

“The challenge of global warming resulting in droughts and floods ravaging nations behoves on us to develop climate resilient crops and technologies to save our farmers from huge economic losses,” Professor Yusuf stressed.

The Institute has recently introduced 17 new crop varieties to its existing collection to better serve farmers’ requirements, which includes four transgenic maize varieties: SAMMAZ 72T, SAMMAZ 73T, SAMMAZ 74T, and SAMMAZ 75T which are prized for their high yield and resistance to the fall army worm. The Institute have also added one pro-vitamin A maize hybrid, SAMMAZ 70 and an Aflatoxin-resistant maize, SAMMAZ 71.

In addition to the maize varieties, the Institute has unveiled a high-yielding castor variety, SAMCAS 1 and three oat varieties namely, SAMOAT 3, SAMOAT 4 and SAMOAT 5, all known for high grain yield and elevated protein content.

The Director further elaborated that several crop varieties were released in collaboration with private seed companies, which includes Champion Gold 68 maize hybrid, which is tolerant to major foliar diseases, maize hybrid SC 417 which is known for its early maturity, maize hybrid SC 665 which has good husk cover and high grain yield, maize hybrid Kabamanoj (yellow) which is developed for drought tolerance and stay-green feature, maize hybrid Golden MH 1-W (white) and Golden MH 2-Y (yellow), which have superior milling quality. Alongside the maize varieties, a sorghum (guinea corn) hybrid named Gold SH1 was also introduced, which is characterized by its early maturity, dwarfness, stay-green feature and high grain yield.

He assured that the Institute is working on nutritionally enhanced varieties of crops to improve nutrition security among Nigerians, as well as developing new food products in response to changing global consumption pattern.

“We shall not relent in our ongoing efforts on the development of crop varieties that exhibit tolerance or resistance to both biotic and abiotic stresses, including drought, extreme heat, floods, pests and diseases in order to address the challenges of climate change,” Professor Yusuf vowed.

This year’s meeting, which was themed ‘Leveraging on Excellence in Agricultural Research and Technology for Sustainable Economic Development in Nigeria’, had in attendance the representative of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, the representative of the Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Professor Garba Hamidu Sharubutu, and the President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Alhaji Farouk Rabiu Mudi, among other dignitaries.

The meeting, which is the only forum that brings together all stakeholders in the Agricultural sector, from government at the three tiers, Agro-industries, farmers and farmers groups, commodity associations, policy makers and implementers, scientists, technical staff and technologists as well as students, converge annually to set pace for Nigeria’s Agricultural policies.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Kabiru Bala, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Professor Raymond Bako, buttressed that IAR has become a household name among farming communities in terms technology generation and dissemination, from releasing new crop varieties to addressing challenges of farming systems and modern tools of agricultural production, in an effort to ease hunger and starvation, thus ensuring food security in the midst of the challenges of insecurity in the nation.

In his goodwill message, the Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Professor Garba Hamidu Sharubutu, louded the steadfast commitment of the Institute to advancing the frontiers of agricultural research and technology through unwavering dedication, innovative spirit and tireless efforts, which he described as instrumental in driving sustainable economic development across the nation.

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