By Akanimo Sampson
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture’s (IITA) Business Incubation Platform (BIP) has set a new production record for maize in Nigeria.
BIP exceeded the previous record through its Youth Out-growers team in an out-growers programme with Nestlé, Nigeria.
Maize is one of Africa’s dominant food crops, rich in vitamins A, C, and E, carbohydrates, and essential minerals as well as 9% protein.
Africa harvests 29 million hectares, and as the largest producer, Nigeria produced 1.69 tons per hectare in 2019, its highest production rate.
However, the Out-growers team has achieved an average of 6 tons/ha, a massive development compared to the achievable value across Nigeria.
Despite the vast number of maize farmers in Nigeria, the crop harvest is little due to low yields.
The Out-growers programme, with the help of IITA, was initiated to investigate ways to increase maize yield and maize farmers’ income in Nigeria and Africa.
To help achieve this, the BIP team carried out a trial with some varieties under certain conditions before the launch of the scheme in 2020.
At harvest time, the team got far beyond the usual production rate, a result that seemed to achieve its goal of increasing maize yield in Nigeria and Africa.
After a meeting with the out-grower team, Victor Saleh, BIP Communication Executive, highlighted the key measures applied to achieve this huge harvest.
They included the selection of quality seed, proper land preparation, planting under good weather and soil conditions, continuous field maintenance, pest scouting and quick eradication, and site-specific fertilizer application as recommended by Agriserve, a unit of IITA-BIP.
Farmers were advised to take note of these key measures and implement them for better yield.