Seeds are the very beginning of a successful farming venture. The quality of your seeds in conjunction with the fertility of the soil are the principal determinants of how good your harvest will be.
In this article, we will be focusing on the cassava “seed” (which is the stem) and maize seeds (which are grains).
CASSAVA SEED (STEM)
Cassava is an important crop for thousands of farmers in West Africa. Once, it was a food security farm produce, but it is currentlyvery high in level of significance, that it is serving as a vital source of income generation for small scale farmers, thereby outpacing cereal crops in value and on a per-acre basis.
With climate change on the rise, cassava has shown itself to be a most resilient crop, reducing the risks on farmers with its rain-dependent crops.
However, pests and diseases cause a significant loss in the harvest of cassava, and the culprits are the mosaic and brown streak viruses. Nonetheless, and very fortunately, breeders have developed improved cassava seeds with higher disease resistance. This is the easiest way to fight these viruses.
But how does a small scale farmer get these new and improved cassava seeds?
Conventionally, for the cultivation of cassava, like almost all vegetatively propagated seed systems in West Africa, farmers saved and shared old disease-ridden seeds amongst themselves. Local government agencies, alongside agro-allied NGOs, would also multiply this unfortunate situation by giving away quality seeds but in an unstable and unreliable pattern.
But this narrative has begun to change.
Two grantees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation espoused a realistic vision of an economically stable cassava seed system that would make new and improved planting materials readily available to farmers. By selling these materials, revenues accrued would serve as encouragement for seed entrepreneurs to operate more sustainably. This would lead to farmers having easier access to these quality seeds. BASICS in Nigeria, also known as BEST Cassava in Tanzania, started cultivating these systems from the retail level, prompting the creation of 600 or more cassava seed entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs are basically farmers with a little bit of special training in the production of quality seeds for local sale. This succeeded in proving that small scale farmers are willing and ready to pay for these quality seeds and, also, it showed that cassava seed sellers/entrepreneurs can generate sufficient income through the sale of cassava seeds.
Perhaps the most vital lesson learned is that commercial farmers will most definitely invest in quality seeds once itis conveniently available, easy to access, will perform better than their current yield and, also, if the new variety is appropriate for their market. This is, primarily, the business situation for farmers wanting to see a return on their investment. Another thing that is clear is the sustainability of income for the seed entrepreneur selling new and improved cassava seeds to local farmers as well as large scale commercial farmers.
Follow the link at the end of this article to purchase new and improved cassava seeds.
Maize, also referred to as corn, is a cereal grain that has become a staple food for almost the whole world’s population. It carries a significant fraction of human energy needs and it also contains other vital nutrients.
Maize is generally cultivated, around the world, in higher quantities than other members of the grain family.
MAIZE SEEDS (Grain)
The choice of maize seed will determine the yield, but this choice is made based on the area of cultivation, soil type, climate, among others.
Maize varieties that tend to grow very tall have a short circle and they are most suited for high altitudes specifically. The other variety of maize, the dwarf variety, is suited for all kinds of climatic conditions. However, maize varieties that have a medium life circle are best suited for medium altitudes.
Lastly, maize varieties should also be selected based on their intended use after harvest, either as human or animal consumption or for industrial use. For instance,the large kernel variety is more suitable for human consumption and for industrial use, whereas the small kernel variety is for animal feed.
Just as with cassava, maize also has its own share of pests and diseases that threaten a successful harvest. Common pests of maize are the African armywormand common armyworm. The diseases include, rust, corn smut, and ear and stalk rot.
Due to the dangers posed to the quantity and quality of maize by these pests and diseases, breeders have developed new varieties of disease-resistant hybrid maize seeds.
Researchers at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training at ObafemiAwolowoUniversity had successfully released two hybrid varieties of maize, back in 2015. As part of the qualities of these new varieties, we have “early maturity”. This is a big deal especially during seasons of erratic rainfall. Also, these new hybrid varieties boast of larger grain size and a higher starch content—a very good option for livestock feed. This hybrid variety is resistant to maize streak leaf virus, rust, leaf blight and, also, auricularia leaf.
But how does a small scale farmer get these new and improved maize seeds, you may ask?
You will be happy to learn that due to the importance of maize in the agro-economy, these hybrid seeds are easy to access.
A large number of local seed entrepreneurs exist side by side with government-fundedfarming initiatives, as well as NGOs, that share these new and improved maize seeds to the small scale farmers. The coordinated effort by private sellers, governmental bodies and NGOs serve to make sure that the quality and quantity of maize supply do not diminish.
The varieties were released specifically to low-income farmers, and also to commercial farmers in a bid for rapid commercialization that would lead to greater maize yield, which would, in turn, positively affect the lives of millions of farmers and consumers across Nigeria and beyond.
In conclusion, the future of any agricultural crop is in the seed(which may not be grains) and are, as such, essential to be of top quality. It is fortunate that the advancement in technological breeding programs is helping to produce the best seeds farmers can use in gathering bountiful and quality harvests.
To learn more about cassava and maize seeds, or to purchase the new and improved cassava seeds (stems) and hybrid maize seeds (grains), Call +2348090001295 for more details