MAIZE: Enhancing the livelihoods of Nigerian farmers

Maize is the second most cultivated crop in Nigeria in terms of area harvested (5.8million Ha, second to Cassava’s 7.1 million Ha, FAOSTAT, 2014). Nigeria is the second largest maize producer in Africa, after South Africa, with an estimated 10.79 million MT produced in 2014 (FAOSTAT, 2014). Despite its high production volumes, Nigeria’s average maize yield of 1.8 MT/Ha (FAOSTAT, 2014) is one of the lowest among the top 10 maize producers in Africa. It lags behind countries such as Egypt and South Africa where the yields are 7.7MT/Ha and 5.3MT/Ha respectively (FAOSTAT, 2014). Simply by addressing this low yield issue, Nigeria could become the largest maize producer in Africa and one of the largest producers in the world without increasing the area currently used for its cultivation.

In Nigeria, the largest volumes of maize are produced in the Northern region, particularly in Kaduna, Borno, Niger, and Taraba and in the South-Western states including in Ogun, Ondo and Oyo.

Maize in Nigeria is mainly produced by smallholder farmers, each cultivating an average of 0.65Ha (Sahel Reports, 2014). Cropping systems differ from North to South. Northern farmers typically do not practice intercropping. While, in the South, maize is usually intercropped with yam, cassava, guinea corn, rice, cowpea, groundnut, and soybeans.

March 1, 2017

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