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Maize growers, processors and marketers in Nigeria are collaborating with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to develop agrochemicals to protect the crop against.



Dr Edwin Uche, the President, Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, made this known in Abuja on Tuesday.

Uche expressed regret that the outbreak of the disease had led to a disease in the volume and quality of maize produced in the country.

“We are interfacing with IITA, University of Agriculture, Umudike (Abia State) and the rest of them in the area of research to see how we can be able to mitigate the challenge that is confronting the product.

“IITA is working tirelessly to come up with solutions. There are also agrochemicals that are being tested to see if they can possibly scare away such rodents that are affecting the crop.

“A lot of activities are going on intermittently within the ministry, the research institutions to see what we can do in the next two, three months to mitigate the problem.’’

Armyworm is a disease currently ravaging maize farms in no fewer than 22 states in the country.

The African armyworm (spodoptera exempta) is a moth which is a harmful and capable of destroying entire crops in a matter of weeks.

The larvae feed on all types of grasses, early stages of cereal crops (e.g., corn, rice, wheat, millet, sorghum, sugar cane) and occasionally on coconut.

The moth always operates at night and the life cycle is between one to two months

The president said that maize was a cash crop which could drive the economy of the country.

According to him, maize is required in the brewery and confectionary industries to boost production.

Uche listed some other challenges facing the production of maize in the country to include poor agronomic practices, lack of access to right and improved seeds.

Others are improper cultivation ethics, improper application of fertiliser and lack of access to finance to encourage farmers.

“We want to appeal to maize farmers to be patient. Farmers need to work with the ADPs at the various states because a lot is happening at the ADPs because there is this gap between information generated and information dissemination in our respective states and local areas, even when there are solutions to this problems or ways of mitigating them, our farmers don’t know.

“So, we try to see how we communicate with them to work with the Agricultural Development Programme in their state, link up with them as fast as possible to get immediate short term solution to the problem even before it is complete outbreak.’’

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