Prof. Rabiu Adamu, Principal Investigator and Head of the TELA Maize Project in the institute, dropped the hint during a field visit to the project ‘Confined Field’ in Zaria on Wednesday.
Adamu said that the new variety would be released to farmers in 2022.
According to him, TELA is an acronym which means ‘total protection’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the trial was carried out in a partnership between the Africa Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and the Institute for Agricultural Research under the TELA maize project.
He said the project was an advanced use of technology for the production and improvement of maize in developing countries.
Adamu said this is the first attempt to produce a maize variety that is resistant to insect, drought tolerant and high yielding in the country.
He said drought and pests, particularly stem bora and fall armyworm, often limit the maize productivity.
He added that the project utilised the approach of genetic modification in biotechnology to develop the improved crop variety.
“The field visit at TELA Maize trial site is meant to showcase how science works.
“The materials we are going to show you today are bred to resist drought and stem bora.
“This two constraints, if not checked, can result in 100 per cent of crop failure, particularly end of the seasonal drought.
“The raining reason is very unpredictable and sometimes it is short and maize requires good rains for it to give good yield,’’ he said.
Prof. Mohammed-Faguji Ishiyaku, Director, Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) at ABU, Zaria remarked that the institute usually invents new technology that improves agricultural productivity every year.
He said that the challenge of global warming and climate change in Nigerian Agriculture had resulted in two environmental conditions characterized by either shortage of rainfall or excessive rainfall that often lead to flooding.
He said drought and flooding had continuously created unbearable agricultural development problems.
“Therefore, the institute is ever committed to climate-smart agriculture in Nigeria.
“For this reason, the institute is working to develop maize and sorghum variety that can withstand flood menace,’’ he said.
He said the introduction of this improved maize variety would go a long way in making maize production cheaper in Nigeria.
He added that drought-tolerant variety had potentials of expanding maize production to marginal areas where rainfall is not so high. (NAN)