Image of Maize. Photo Source – Google Image
By Christiana Amodu Otinyia
Claim: A viral tweet stated that no Nigerian university had developed a maize seed for commercial purposes.
Our findings show that more than one university in Nigeria has produced maize seeds for commercial purposes.
In recent times, the agricultural sector has been brought to the front burner in discussions not just around economic diversification but also around increasing the capacity to meet the demands of local farmers.
The role of harnessing the potentials inherent in Nigerian research and development institutions remains cogent in driving growth and development in this sector. A handful of Nigerian higher institutions are beginning to look inwards to provide homegrown solutions to challenges.
Recently, Twitter user That farmer boy (@farmexecutive) shared a tweet with the assertion that no single university in Nigeria had developed a maize seed for commercial purposes.
This tweet has been viewed over 42,000 times, retweeted by 56 Twitter users and liked by over 50 followers.
Screenshot of the tweet by the farmer boy.
The significance of this claim and the engagement it has attracted prompted us to verify this claim and set the records straight.
Our research into the work being done by Nigerian universities revealed that the Institute for Agricultural Research, IAR, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, secured approval to release three new high-yielding nutrient maize varieties for planting in Nigeria. According to the institute, approval was granted by the National Varietal Release Committee at the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology in Ibadan in a Certificate dated October 8, 2021, and comes into effect from October 8, 2021, to October 5, 2024.
It also stated that the maize varieties tagged: SAMMAZ 52, SAMMAZ 53 and SAMMAZ 54 were offshoots of extensive “on-station, multi-locational and on-farm’’ evaluations with strong farmer participation and varieties were desirable to many maize farmers, seed companies, and food processing entrepreneurs, agro-allied industries as well as consumers across Nigeria.
We also found out that more universities joined the train as researchers in the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ilorin, Kwara state, in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, in 2021 developed a new breed of maize, named ILOMAZ-1.
News reports also showed that the federal government of Nigeria granted environmental approval for these maize seeds or evaluation and open cultivation.
The tweet by the That farm boy is false as our findings show more than one Nigerian university has developed and gained approval for the commercialisation of their maize seeds.
The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2023 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with Summitpost News to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.