By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Lagos – The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) says it is getting positive feedback on its rebuilding and restoration initiative, “Seeds of Renaissance’’, which is designed to alleviate food crisis in Northern Nigeria.
IITA said this via a statement which was e-mailed to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday.
The institute said that the seeds were developed in partnership with Africarice and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropical (ICRISAT).
It said that farmers from different parts of Bornu had testified that they were recording high yields by planting the new seeds which the institute distributed in 2017.
Some beneficiary farmers said that the yields were far better than their yields, prior to the introduction of the seeds.
A soybean farmer, Maryam Muh’d, was quoted as saying that she recorded a bountiful harvest after cultivating the improved soybean seeds.
“The seeds I used before yielded small harvests but the seeds I got from IITA yielded much bigger harvests. For instance, where I used to reap two bags of soybean before, I now get over three bags,’’ she said.
Another soybean farmer, Yusuf Zachariah, said that his harvest far surpassed that of some neighbouring farmers who planted another variety of seed.
A soybean and maize farmer, Isaiah Maduka, who said that he would like to obtain another batch of improved seeds, disclosed that he had, nonetheless, saved part of the seeds for the coming planting season.
The beneficiaries said that introduction of the seeds had better the lives and livelihoods of farmers in the state, particularly since many of them had lost their families and livelihoods to the Boko Haram insurgency.
NAN reports that IITA started the initiative in 2017, with the distribution of 35,930 kilogrammes of improved seeds to the Bornu Government.
The seeds, which include cowpea, soybean, millet, maize, sorghum and rice, are suitable for cultivation under the climatic conditions of the area.
NAN also reports that the seeds were distributed free of charge to the beneficiary farmers. (NAN)