NIGERIA – Nigeria has relaunched Dekalb DK777, a pest-resistant white maize cultivar developed by Bayer, in a quest to unlock the potential of maize production through a ‘Sustainable Maize Value Chain’.

First introduced in 2018, the Dekalb DK777 maize variety is a popular cultivar in Nigeria and farmers have been embracing it for its potential to significantly enhance producers’ income while boosting regional food security.

The relaunching ceremony took place on the sidelines of the concluded 5th Nigeria Maize Conference, organized by Bayer West-Central Africa, a multinational life science company, in collaboration with the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN).

Themed ‘Much More Maize: Engaging Stakeholders for a Sustainable Maize Value Chain’, the conference served as a pivotal platform for exchanging knowledge, sharing experiences, and fostering partnerships to address the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities within the maize value chain in the challenges and opportunities within the country’s maize sector.

The conference brought together farmers, industry experts, and government representatives, to address the challenges facing the maize value chain and how stakeholders can work together to improve productivity.

Maize, one of the most popular food crops in Nigeria, is widely consumed by millions of Nigerians and is also used for the production of animal feeds.

However, local production has for years lagged consumption, a situation that has fueled importation with implications for Nigeria’s currency and job creation

According to experts, challenges such as pest infestation, market access, and ineffective agronomic practices are harming the sector, halting achieving the full potential of Nigeria’s maize value chain.

However, for Bayer, the relaunched Dekalb DK777 variety comes as a game changer in the maize production sector with its flint grain type which is good for poundability, strong stems, and uniform cobs placement that enables easy harvest.

Empowering farmers

On their part, farmers were equipped with practical tools and techniques to enhance productivity, reduce post-harvest losses, and improve the overall quality of their maize yields.

In addition, they were encouraged to embrace new technologies, invest in research and development, and participate in capacity-building programs. Stakeholders are urged to support initiatives that foster collaboration, knowledge exchange, and skill development.

Additionally, the hybrid variety offers a high yield potential of 10-12 tons per hectare, tolerance to MLN disease, and good tolerance to leaf diseases.

Temitope Banjo, the Country Sales Manager at Bayer Nigeria Ltd reiterated that the conference aimed to unite stakeholders in the sector and build a sustainable, collaborative synergy toward a secured future.

He stated, “Bayer remains committed to working closely with stakeholders, supporting the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, promoting knowledge sharing, and fostering collaboration.”

In addition to technical knowledge, the Nigeria Maize Conference addressed critical aspects of market dynamics.

From their observations, there is increasing demand for maize by the poultry and manufacturing sectors and there is also the potential of increasing the current average maize yield rate and expanding the land area for maize cultivation.

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