NIGERIA – The Federal Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), has introduced four innovative maize variants designed to improve yields for farmers across Africa.

The new variants, collectively known as “TELA Maize Varieties,” include SAMMAZ 72T, SAMMAZ 73T, SAMMAZ 74T, and SAMMAZ 75T.

TELA maize, derived from the word “TUTELA,” which means protection, is the product of a public-private partnership aimed at commercialization.

These maize variants possess transgenic drought-tolerant and insect-resistant qualities, offering enhanced protection against drought, diseases, and pests, thereby promising increased farmer productivity.

The official launch took place in Abuja and marks a significant step towards ensuring food sufficiency for livestock and human consumption.

During the launch, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, highlighted the potential of TELA maize to address critical agricultural challenges.

 “The TELA maize varieties are designed to tackle problems such as drought and diseases, significantly boosting farmers’ productivity,” he stated.

Abdullahi assured the public of the safety of these new maize variants for human consumption and livestock feed, emphasizing that regulatory bodies such as the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) and the National Agricultural Seed Council would oversee their adoption and application.

The development of these maize variants is credited to Nigerian researchers from the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Abdullahi emphasized the government’s commitment to supporting further agricultural innovations in alignment with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

Ado Adamu Yusuf, Executive Director of the Institute for Agricultural Research, shared insights into the project’s origins, dating back to Nigeria’s involvement in the TELA Maize Project Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in 2019.

This initiative addressed major agricultural challenges such as drought, insect pests, fall armyworms, and stemborers.

The SAMMAZ-T series of maize hybrids provide a triple protection strategy, ensuring drought tolerance, resistance to fall armyworm, and resistance to stemborer pests,” Yusuf explained.

He added that the initiative not only guarantees higher yields but also reduces the reliance on chemical pesticides, thus saving costs and mitigating environmental and health risks.”

Aggrey Ambali, Chairman of the AATF Board of Trustees, hailed the launch as a significant milestone for agricultural development across the African continent, underscoring its potential impact on food security and economic growth.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.