IAR Samaru releases improve varieties for food security and national development- By Muhammad Rislan
THE INSTITUTE FOR AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH (IAR) SAMARU RELEASES IMPROVED VARIETIES FOR FOOD SECURITY AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) Samaru has obtained the green light for the registration and release of highly productive varieties of maize, sweet sorghum, and cotton in Nigeria.
The approval was granted at the just concluded 29th meeting of the National Varietal Release Committee (NVRC), through the National Committee on the Naming, Registration and Release of Crop Varieties, Livestock Breeds and Fisheries held at the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
At the meeting, five improved maize varieties, SAMMAZ 59, SAMMAZ 60, SAMMAZ 61, SAMMAZ 62 and SAMMAZ 63, with an average yield potential above 5.0 tons/hectare and tolerant to maize streak virus, rust, leaf blight, and curvularia leaf spot were approved for registration and released. The varieties, SAMMAZ 59 and SAMMAZ 60 have an outstanding characteristic of high pro-vitamin A content of 16.3 μg/g which are 58 and 66% respectively more than the current pro-vitamin A maize variety available in the market. The variety, SAMMAZ 61 is a medium maturing top-cross maize hybrid with a potential yield of 8.0 tons/hectare. SAMMAZ 62 and SAMMAZ 63 are intermediate maturing hybrids with a yield potential of 8.0 tons/hectare and stay green characteristics. All the maize varieties are suitable for cultivation in the Guinea Savanna agro-ecologies.
IAR Samaru and partners from IITA Ibadan, AATF Kenya, CIMMYT Kenya and Bayer developed the maize varieties. The release of the varieties will reduce malnutrition and ensure the sustainability of maize production and productivity and continue to revolutionize agriculture in Nigeria.
Two sweet sorghum varieties, SWSV DANSADAU (SAMSORG 50SW) and NRSSS005 (SAMSORG 51SW) were also registered and released for biofuel production in Nigeria by the Institute. SAMSORG 50SW is an early maturing variety with a potential yield of 0.8 tons/hectare (Grain), High Brix content of 22% and a Brix Extract of 15,000 litres/ha. It is an open-pollinated and developed from a landrace obtained from Dansadau LGA, Zamfara State, Nigeria and suitable for production in Sudan and Sahel Savannas agro-ecologies. SAMSORG 51SW is a medium maturing, open-pollinated variety developed from an exotic line from China. It has a potential yield of 1.5 tons/hectare (Grain), High Brix content of 26%, Brix Extract of 15,387 litres/ha suitable for production in Sudan and Northern Guinea Savannas. The two sweet sorghum varieties are relatively tolerant to zonate leaf spot, anthracnose, stem borer, smut and Striga hermonthica. The development of the two sweet sorghum varieties was a combined effort of the Institute and the Raw Materials Research and Development Council, (RMRDC) Abuja.
Finally, the Institute registered two conventional single cross cotton hybrids to be used as refuge-in-bag (RIB) across all the cotton production zones in Nigeria. The varieties, C 571 and C 567 are non-Bt-cotton hybrids that will be blended in a smaller proportion during packaging with a larger proportion of Bt seeds in the same packet or bag. Recall that in 2018, the Institute released the first-ever Bt-cotton (MAHYCO C 571 BGII and MAHYCO C 567 BGII) and the recent registration of the non-Bt-cotton hybrids will serve to ensure compliance of government regulation on refuge requirements that affect environmental management. In essence, the two non-Bt cotton hybrid varieties registered will be used as refuge materials along with the Bt cotton hybrids in Nigeria. MAHYCO Pvt Ltd developed the two cotton hybrids in collaboration with the Institute.
In a press release from the Executive Director of the Institute, Professor M.F. Ishiyaku he said: “I wish to, on behalf of myself and the management of IAR, Congratulate the hard-working team of our Scientists on the successful effort of yet enriching Nigeria’s Agriculture with the registration and release of five (5) improved Maize varieties with high yield and good agronomic performance, namely SAMMAZ 59, SAMMAZ 60, SAMMAZ 61, SAMMAZ 62 and SAMMAZ 63; two (2) Sweet Sorghum varieties (SAMSORG 50 SW and SAMSORG 51 SW) with high sugar content like sugar cane with potential to provide sugar-related products for general and industrial use, especially biofuel. The two (2) cotton hybrids varieties, namely C567 and C571, are very high yielding and can be grown in all cotton zones of the nation. This most recent research output from IAR is in response to President Muhammadu Buhari’s call for self-sufficiency in food production in Nigeria. Furthermore, it is one more testimony that Scientists at the Institute can deliver even better with more resources. I want to use this opportunity to call for more resources to be invested in the Institute by government and other stakeholders in order to harvest more technologies for national development from the Institute”.
In his statement, the Deputy Director, Professor Ado A. Yusuf, said: “This is yet another milestone among the numerous achievements characteristic of the Institute. I believe the majority of farmers in Nigeria and the West African sub-continent are deriving enormous benefits in the taxpayers’ monies invested in the Institute by the Government and other Development Partners”.
In a Facebook message, the President of The Nigerian Plant Breeders Association (NPBA), Professor Chidozie Egesi Congratulated the team breeders from the Institute and called them well-accomplished Plant Breeders. Professor Peter Aikpokpodion, University of Calabar, also congratulated the Institute.
He said “I am so proud of this great Institution with a long-standing excellent track record in the development of improved crop varieties towards our nation’s food sufficiency and economic development. I do not doubt that under the pragmatic leadership of Professor M.F. Ishiyaku, who himself is an accomplished and distinguished cultivar development expert, this noble Institution will further push the frontiers and take the nation to a higher level of accomplishment”.