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Nigeria approves genetically modified maize for open cultivation

The federal government of Nigeria has approved the development of new maize variety called ‘Tela maize’ after research was carried out at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. The new variant is said to have some tolerance against drought as well as resistance for stem borers and army worms.

This development was made in a statement released by the Communications manager, African Agricultural Technology foundation (AATF), Alex Abutu and the Information officer of the IAR, Yakubu Dodo in Abuja on Sunday.

‘The agency was convinced that there are no known adverse impact to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, taking into account risk to human health. The permit, pursuant to this decision, is without prejudice to other extant legal requirement.’ Said by the committee members of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NMBA)

According to the AATF Tela Maize project manager, Sylvester Oikeh, he stated that the development was good news and a new era for farmers.

The Executive director of IAR also expressed pleasure on the NBMA’s commercial approval of Tela Maize and also highlighted that IAR has the capacity to solve Nigeria’s food problems.

The Tela Maize project involves seven African countries which include Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia and Nigeria. The project has been ongoing since 2018 and has involved numerous bodies such as the National Agricultural Research system of the above listed African countries, Bayer and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)

In the words of the Tela Maize principal investigator, Rabiu Adamu on the adaptability of the Tela hybrid and evaluation of the yield, he stated that the instituted can go ahead with multi location trials.

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