The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology has released 13 high-yielding new crop varieties to boost agricultural productivity in the country.
The Chairman, National Varietal Release Committee, Prof. Awoyemi Oladosu, announced the release at the 25th meeting of NVRC at National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology in Ibadan.
A statement by the Registrar of NACGRAB, Dr Sunday Aladele, on Tuesday in Ibadan said that the 13 crop varieties included two wheat varieties, LACRIWHIT 9 and LACRIWHIT 10; and three maize varieties, SAMMAZ 52, SAMMAZ 53 and SAMMAZ 54.
The statement said that four maize hybrids, SC612, SC 649, DK390, and DK 7508; three rice varieties, Faro 66, Faro 67and Faro 68, and one sugarcane variety, NCS-009, were also approved and released.
It said that the approval and release of the crop varieties were based on certain characteristics which included high tuber and grain yield; pro-vitamin A content; early maturity; tolerance to pest and drought as well as iron toxicity.
The statement said the 13 crop varieties were recommended by NVRC for release, out of the 18 varieties that were originally submitted to the committee by research institutes, universities and private companies.
However, it said that three varieties of oil palm, which were submitted by Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research for consideration and registration, were not accepted for recommendation because of the insufficient data provided on them.
The statement said that three segregates of an already registered (year 1975) and released (year 2000) coconut variety — NIFORDwarf NGCN-002 — was submitted by NIFOR for de-segregation and registration.
The statement said that they were, however, not accepted for recommendation based on insufficient data provided on them.
It said that two potato varieties, Diamant and Nicola, were submitted by National Root Crops Institute in Jos and Umudike for consideration for retroactive registration.
The statement said that they were not accepted for recommendation based on insufficient data provided on them by the institute.
It thanked the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu for ensuring the prompt release of funds for NACGRAB, which was the secretariat of NVRC, to operate efficiently.
It also commended International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Institute for Agricultural Research, Lake Chad Research Institute, Africa Rice and Seedco West Africa Ltd. for their assistance to NACGRAB in efforts to host the meeting.