Nigeria has now been confirmed as the highest producer of maize with 12 million metric tonnes annually.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, stated this recently at the launch of Fall GoldMax pesticides and inauguration of a 24-man task force committee to tackle Fall Armyworm, in Abuja.

“I am glad that Nigeria is Africa’s largest maize producer. We are looking at 12 and a half metric tonnes each year just as we are the largest producer of rice, cassava and yam.”

Also, in a bid to expand the production of maize, which has suffered a setback due to Fall Armyworm, he said government will buy a pesticide called GoldMax and sell to farmers at subsidised rate to fight the disease.
“Farmers will grow maize and we shall consume them. We are going to buy large consignments of the chemicals and give to farmers at a subsidised rate so that they can expand production.

“One of our problems is that when we export crops people find residues of harmful chemicals and they reject them. But this chemical will help solve the problem.”

On his part, Country Representative of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Suffyan appealed to the Federal Government to declare a national emergency on Fall Armyworm to tackle the issue, stressing that the existing gap in maize demand, which is not yet met through local supply, will further widen by the current wave of maize devastation.

“To further build on FAO-supported intervention and ensure continuity and sustainability of the project, there is need for the government of Nigeria to declare a national emergency on Fall Armyworm and also upscale the project to other states not covered by the FAO Technical Cooperation Project, which would come to an end by December 2018,” he added.

Ayomide Oyewole

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