President, Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN), Dr Edwin Uche, has advised farmers in the northern part of the country to cultivate vitamin A bio-fortified maize, as the wet season farming sets in.
Uche gave the advice on Friday, March 16, 2018 in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
The advice is sequel to a complaint by Mr Dollah Yusuf, a maize specialist with HarvestPlus Nigeria, at the 2018 stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja on Jan. 31.
Yusuf then moaned that most farmers in the North still preferred to cultivate the white maize, as against the vitamin A bio-fortified disease-resistant, nutrient-rich maize.
Uche said that the association had initiated an awareness campaign in the North to sensitise farmers to the benefits of cultivating vitamin A bio-fortified maize and where the seed could be obtained.
“We are already sensitising farmers across the country; we have been able to work out a plan and budget for the sensitisation campaign, especially in the North.
“We are getting the information down to the grassroots because farmers need to be informed on why they should plant vitamin A bio-fortified maize.
“If you don’t convince the people on why they should embrace vitamin A bio-fortified maize, they will not accept the proposal,” he said.
Uche said that vitamin A bio-fortified maize had been tested extensively in Oyo, Imo, Kaduna, Osun, Ogun states and the result had been “thrilling and fulfilling.
“The passion with which the farmers in the South are embracing vitamin A bio-fortified maize is increasing by the day.
“We are mobilising northern farmers to join in and embrace the planting of this disease-resistant, nutrient rich maize, which will give farmers better yield for their efforts.
“The health benefits of vitamin A bio-fortified maize are numerous and the consumption of this maize can make people live healthy lives,” he said.
Besides, Uche said that the association was interfacing between maize farmers and seed companies to ensure that the farmers got improved seeds, as the wet season farming began across the country.
He advised maize farmers to always approach the association’s officials in all the states for assistance whenever they encountered any problem in the course of their agricultural activities.
By Uwumarogie Peter