The second annual Nigeria Maize Conference organized by Bayer Middle Africa Limited held in Abuja on April 3, 2019 attracting more than 40 farmers, agriculturists, academics and government agricultural experts.
The conference with the theme: “Integrated Pest Management: Key to Profitable Maize Farming”, had in attendance the Deputy Director of the International Institute of Agricultural Research, Prof. D.D. Yusuf, Weed Scientist from the Department of Crop and Soil Science, University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Udensi Ekea Udensi, Engineer Buba Galadima, and officials of Bayer Middle Africa Limited.
Speaking during one of the sessions, Dr. Udensi Ekea Udensi noted that maize was the world’s third most important cereal crop, accounting for over 30 million metric tons while Nigeria remained Africa’s largest producer of maize with over 10 million tons.
The university don highlighted some key challenges facing farmers in the country such as lack of resources for training of smallholder farmers, poor dissemination of need information and the perennial menace of weeds on farms.
He advised farmers to ensure appropriate use of herbicides managed by skilled technical personnel as he enjoined them to check labels on products purchased to ascertain suitability.
In his presentation, Bayer’s Development and Registration Manager, Mr. Ahmed Bello, who emphasized the proper use of pesticides, pointed out that farmers must make the right choice of pesticides.
Bello announced that Bayer had a five-step window program for Nigeria in which farmers were expected to spray their crops appropriately for maximum yield.
Reacting, participants expressed worry about difficulties in obtaining loans from banks and other financial institutions in their bid to improve their farming potentials.
They also expressed concern about how to dispose of chemical products containers after use to which officials of Bayer gave assurance that a pilot project on ways to assist farmers on disposal was ongoing in Cote D’Ivoire and Benin.
A panel discussion was also held with the panelists drawn from among the participating experts, researchers and academics, which reemphasized what farmers must do.
The focus was on land preparation – proper ploughing, identification of incursion of pests, assessment of the appropriate chemical to use and the mode of application.
Bayer Middle Africa Limited used the occasion to officially unveil two of their products, Lagon and Belt Expert, originally formulated to address pests management in maize farming.