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IITA: Diseases threatening Nigeria’s $6bn turnover from maize

IITA: Diseases threatening Nigeria’s $6bn turnover from maize
July 01
18:24 2017

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) says Nigeria’s annual turnover of $6 billion from the maize industry is currently being threatened by diseases and pests especially African army worm caterpillar.

Robert Asiedu, research for development director, West Africa, said the diseases may threaten national food security if it is not addressed.

Asiedu, who made this statement on Friday at a conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the institute scheduled to hold on July 24, said IITA is coming up with a short-term solution of introducing chemicals to control the diseases.

In February, African army worm caterpillar had been discovered in 22 states rendering hectares of maize plantations malnourished and without maize buds for eventual harvest.


IITA said it has also embarked on developing disease resistant maize to completely control the diseases.

Asiedu said that Nigeria accounted for a quarter of the institute’s annual investment of US$150m in Africa, noting that it is the biggest of all the countries in terms of expenditure.

Recently, IITA initiated breeding efforts to enhance the micro nutrient content of maize varieties, to combat iron deficiency and vitamin A deficiency. The provitamin A maize has been released to farmers for cultivation.



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