Disease threatens corn supply in Benue

THERE are strong indications that Nigeria’s staple food, corn, may be in short supply to Nigerians following the stem borer (disease that destroys maize) that has ravaged maize in Benue State.

Benue has a comparative advantage in production of maize in the country, but recorded low production this year farming season due to stem borer attacks.

State Commissioner for Agriculture, Honourable James Anbuain, in a chat with newsmen in his office, explained that the infection had ravaged most of maize farms in the state resulting in low production.

He added that the state had lost chunk of money to the disease and said that the ministry had intimated the Federal Ministry of Agriculture about the development.

The commissioner, however, said that the state would have bomper harvest in rice, yam, cassava and soybeans this year.

According to him, “while we lost chunk of our maize to stem borer this farming season, we are expecting bomper harvest in rice, cassava, yam and soyabeans’.

“In order to improve these produce, we have acquired 3.750 hectares of land for dry season farming. Benue is poised to flood Nigerian markets with rice, yam, cassava and soyabeans.”, he said.

Dismissing the purported diversion of fertilizer in the state, the commissioner said that over 165 trucks of fertilizer were distributed to farmers through appropriate channels that could hinder diversion.

He admitted that the state was set to partner with foreign firms to complete the abandoned fertilizer blending plant started ten years ago so as to meet the demands of farmers.