The new maize variety called TELA, which is drought resistant is said to be in its final year of release in Nigeria. The word ‘TELA’ is derived from the Latin word TUTELA which means ‘Protection’. The TELA Maize Project builds on progress made from a decade of excellent breeding work under the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project. Nigeria’s TELA, which was developed at Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, is water efficient, drought tolerant and fights insects and pests such as Fall Armyworm.
This, is a according to a statement by the Director-General of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha. It would be recalled that in 2021 during an on-farm trial of the TELA maize which is transgenic in Zaria, the crop was able to resist Fall Armyworm on the farm and also showed a significant resilience on the field. The maize is currently in the final stages of varietal release, according to Prof. Mustapha. He explained that it is at this stage that some trials would be carried out in various parts of the country on the maize variety, with proper assessment of the crop performance.
“This maize has to go through so many processes before it is released, now it is at the stage of varietal release where a trial is supposed to be conducted for the proper assessment for it to be released in the country. I think we are in the last year of assessment, the maize has been given to so many sections of the country where it is going to be planted and assessed and after the conclusion it is going to be released in the country”, he said. The NABDA DG further disclosed that the body was formed to uphold the Federal Government policy on food security, which he said they are presently committed to, saying “We are working hard to see that we have met with what Mr. President said and we are happy to align ourselves with the President’s vision and the President’s way of trying to pull the country together to make sure that we are self-sufficient in food production”.