The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology has released 19 new high yield crop varieties to enhance agricultural production.
The National Variety Release Committee (NVRC) approved the release at its 26th meeting held at its secretariat at the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Ibadan.
NACGRAB’s Registrar and Chief Executive, Dr Sunday Aladele, told the Newsmen in Ibadan that an indigenous chicken breed was also approved for registration and release.
Aladele said the chicken breed submitted by the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), was a dual purpose (egg and meat) livestock breed called FUNAAB Alpha Chicken.
The Registrar said the chicken breed had performance characteristics such as body weight, egg weight and survivability surpassing those of existing Nigerian local chickens.
He said the Chairman of the NVRC, Chief Oladosu Awoyemi, announced the release of the chicken breed and the 19 crop varieties out of the 21 submitted for consideration during the meeting.
Aladele said the 19 crop varieties included one soybean (SC-SL01), five maize hybrids (P4226, P3966, P4063, WE3205and DKB350) and two maize varieties (AMANA-1 and AMANA – 2).
Others, he said, were one sweet potato variety (Solo Gold), three groundnut varieties (SAMNUT 27, SAMNUT 28 and SAMNUT 29) and three sorghum varieties (SAMSORG 47, SAMSORG 48 and SAMSORG 49).
Aladele said two cowpea varieties (SAMPEA 18 and SAMPEA 19) and two transgenic hybrid cotton (MAYCO C567 BGII and MAYCO C570 BGII) were also approved for release.
The NACGRAB boss said criteria used by the committee for release of the crops included characteristics such as high yield potential, good pod clearance and resistance to potato virus.
He said other characteristics were good standard, resistance to lodging, early maturity, tolerance to drought, excellent husk cover, high grain yield and tolerance to insect pests.
Aladele said scientists, seed companies, research institutes, universities and breeders from Nigeria, India and Kenya attended the meeting.
He said some foreign participants also developed the newly released varieties for their countries.