The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said it had given no fewer than 650 farmers one ton of Downy Mildew Resistant (DMR) and Leaf Streak Resistant (LSR) -hybrid maize seedlings as palliatives for the planting season.
Downy Mildew and Leaf Streak are diseases that destroy maize seeds, thereby affecting farmers’ harvest, a statement said on Wednesday.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal, said the donation was part of government’s efforts at dealing with the problem of shortage of food caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Lawal, maize, being one of the most useful cereal crops in West Africa, is an important source of carbohydrate, protein, iron, Vitamin B and minerals, and is known to digest quickly.
The commissioner said maize is simple to cultivate and easy to maintain, especially the DMR and LSR hybrid seed, which has an early maturing window of 75 days.
Lawal explained that apart from the early maturity benefit of the hybrid maize, it was also resistant to leaf defoliation and cob diseases and required minimal amount of fertiliser dosage.
He noted that it was highly resistant to maize streak, which could affect seedlings at maturity, adding that it is nutritional to the body.
“The effect is that the farmers have seeds to plant in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic where they’ve been finding it difficult to get good seeds and inputs,” he added.