The Federal Government, in partnership with the Lagos State government, have empowered maize farmers, under the National Programme for Food Security (NPFS) with a new maize seed variety and fertilizer, to boost their production this farming season. The State Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Olayinka Akeredolu, while speaking during the presentation of the inputs to the farmers at the Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority office in Oko-Oba Agege, said that the seed is high yielding and disease resistant.
She advised farmers to plant seeds according to specifications, stressing that the particular seed was high yielding, pest resistant and good for consumption. The Programme Manager, Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority (LSADA), Tawakaltu Kosoko, while speaking, said that the objective of the NPFS was to improve food security through livelihood enhancement. She said one of the major challenges facing crop farmers had been the rising cost of inputs, mainly fertilizer and access to improved high yielding and certified seeds.
“It is, therefore, hoped that these inputs, which will be given to farmers at no cost today, it will go a long way to addressing the problem of food insecurity and improving the livelihood of our farmers”, as the Head of Crop Department of LSADA, Dr. Bukola Sadiku, said that the variety given to the farmers is Suwan-1- SR such that before the introduction of the variety, farmers in the state were not really having much from the maize they plant and that they were getting like one or two metric tonnes per hectare, but that with this variety that is coming from the Federal Government, it is sure that they can get five to six tonnes per hectare.
While enlightening farmers on the new variety, Sadiku educated them on how to plant, the number of seeds to plant per hole, how and when to apply fertilizer, monitoring and harvesting. She said that farmers are to apply fertilizer after two to three weeks after planting and that the other application should be done five weeks after planting. One of the farmers, Muftau Oyelekan, said that they were empowered with a new variety of maize that are to be planted in this season. “We are happy to be here because this is the planting season for maize; we are called here by the Lagos state government in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development”, he said.