New Maize Disease Surfaces, Threatens Food Sufficiency

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Ademola Babalola in Ibadan

At a time tomato scarcity rages due to a disease nick-named ‘Ebola’, a new disease has been uncovered in the South West geopolitical zone of the country. This time, it is a maize disease, according to the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Moor Plantation, Ibadan.

The IAR&T, which is the zonal coordinating research institute in the South-West, declared in a statement issued by its Head of Public Relations Unit, Mr. Adeniyi Amusat, that an uncommon pest is presently ravaging maize on the field in the Southwest agro-ecological zone of Nigeria which may likely lead to shortage of maize in the region.

The disease, according to THISDAY findings, has rendered many hectares of maize plantations malnourished and in some instances stunted and yellowish without maize buds for eventual harvest this year. And many farmers are rueing the development, describing it ‘ as an unprecedented phenomenon in recent years.”

But the institute, while calling on all stakeholders to aggressively address the looming danger, maintained that if not checked there may be scarcity/shortage of maize as experienced with tomato recently.

The statement noted that the new discovery portends serious danger for production and consumption of maize in the nation as it forms larger percentage of livestock feeds formulation, especially in poultry.

It however assured that IAR&T which is the institute saddled with maize production mandate in the region is already setting machinery in motion to control the menace.

Further details later