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STMA: IITA lauds maize productivity in Africa

Dr Abebe Menkir of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, has commended the West African stakeholders of the Stress-Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) for boosting maize production in the African sub-region.

Smallholder

A maize farmer. Photo credit: Kelvin Owino

Menkir gave the commendation in a statement by Dr Godfrey Onagwa, Information and Communication, National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaisons Services (NAERLS), Zaria on Thursday, May 3, 2018.

It quoted Menkir, who is also the head of maize research programme, IITA, as saying that the project had yielded  positive results.

The statement said the Stress-Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) Project held its West African Regional Planning and Review Meeting in IITA, Ibadan.

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It added that the stakeholders gathered in IITA Ibadan to review the STMA’s tremendous roles at increasing maize productivity in the sub-region.

“The project has performed exceptionally well since its inception about two years ago.

“The project is involved in the development and promotion of maize OPVs (open-pollinated varieties) and hybrids that are drought-tolerant, striga-resistant, disease-resistant and those tolerant to low-nitrogen soils.

“The foremost maize scientist said this at the event of the West African Regional Planning and Review meeting of the Stress-Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) in IITA from May 1 to May 6, 2018,” it said.

Onagwa said the meeting, which is the forum for reviewing the project activities of 2017 and planning for those of 2018, had participants from four West African countries: Nigeria, Benin, Mali and Ghana.

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The International Director of the STMA Project, Dr Cosmos Magorokosho, was also present at the meeting.

He noted that various countries reported increased activities in their variety development and dissemination across the region, disclosing that Nigeria released about two stress-tolerant varieties in 2017 alone.

It added that Nigerian partners include: Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, NAERLS, Zaria; University of Ilorin, Institute for Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan.

Others include Premier Seeds, Maslaha Seeds, Tecni Seeds, National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) and National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC).

The statement said Dr Muhydeen Oyekunle, a maize breeder and scientist at IAR, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, is the Nigeria country coordinator of the project.

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By Mohammed Lawal

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