By Adelola Amihere
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural development , Audu Ogbeh has said Nigeria is now the largest producer of Maize following an expected output yield of 12million tonnes this year.
This is just as he also disclosed that the country is also the largest producer of rice, cassava and sesame seed with Ethiopia following closely in sesame seeds production.
The Minister stated this at the inauguration of a Task force team on the control of the Fall Army worm FAM disease ravaging maize crops across the country and the launch of Goldmax total crop protection pesticide effective against the Fall Army Worm disease in Abuja on Tuesday.
While speaking, he commended the efforts of the scientist behind the pesticide, Prof Aaron Baba for his innovation that has helped address the devastating effect of FAM
He said, ” We have a budget for 2018. A little has been released but nothing stops us from writing a memo that will go through the tenders board so that we can procure so much from him . That can even make money available to him so that he can produce in advance because the farmers need this stuff.
“We are very worried because anything that slows down food production or harms food storage creates a problem for the whole country. The. Cost of food should go down.
“We always subsidise but luckily the subsidy can go to the producer so he can produce at a low price. Because when you give subsidies, the danger is that somebody can go in between buys the product all off and starts to resell it at a higher price and the farmer is desperate . we will work it through AIMS and ensure if gets to farmers at a lower price.
The National Task Force on FAW which comprises of members from both the public and private sectors would among other things advise government on FAW infestation; engage partners, communicate with relevant stakeholders on the menace of FAW and promote cooperation, coordination, consistency and synergies across the country on FAW.
In his technical presentation, Prof Baba explained that the pesticide first kills the pest, deactivates the eggs,pupa and larvae and adult pests thereby disrupting the life cycle.
“The residual on the maize plants can last for 58days . it is environmental and human friendly. It works for the control of army worms, tuta absoluta and other pests infestation. A litre of the product is effective for up to one hectare of any infested crop and a single application is usually enough.
“Because of the composition, it is not likely that the pest will develop any resistance . you spray in the maize crops from the funnel. Its effective at very low concentration there is no need for reapplication except for reinfestation.
Earlier , the Country Representative Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Mr Suffyan Koroma in his remarks commended government’s efforts in setting up the National Taskforce and noted that it would serve as a strategic national approach to the control and management of FAW infestation; he implored members to immediately go into action in order to give the required supports to farmers in the next cropping season.
Members of the National Task Force on FAW include, Dr. Mufutau Adeleke, Ajayi Olutobaba, Mr Mike Kanu , Aliyu Danlami Chafe, Dr Ishiakbio Khalid, Dr Vincent Isegbe, Prof J.A Adediran, Prof Rabiu Adamu, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, Prof Chris Dauda, Mr. Sabiu S. Ismaila, Mr. Adeniyan O.B, Dr Nkem, Dr. Oluwakemi Odeyemi, Mrs Adeola Akinrinlola, Ben Odoemena, Dr Charles Iyangbe, Dr AlphaKamara, Sarrazin Felix. Othe rs are Hauwa Funmilayo, Prof Ibrahim Haruna , Prof Aaron Baba and Mallam Isah Adamu.