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General News of Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Source: GNA

CRI develops four new maize varieties

Accra, Feb. 6, GNA- The Crop Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed four new varieties of maize to replace the old varieties, which were released over a decade ago and had started showing deficiencies in key traits in disease susceptibility and lodging.

The development of the new varieties was also to answer the numerous demands by consumers and industry since the yellow Quality Protein Maize varieties were particularly targeted for the poultry and livestock industry.

The varieties, which were released last August to the market, are CSIR-CRI "Golden Jubilee" to commemorate the Ghana Golden Jubilee, CSIR-CRI "Aziga" meaning big egg in Ewe, CSIR-CRI "Etuto-Pibi" meaning father's child in Gonja, CSIR-CRI "Akposoe", in honour of Dr. M.K Akposoe, a former Senior Maize Breeder of CRI for his contribution towards maize improvement work in Ghana.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Thursday, Dr Hans Adu-Dapaah, a plant breeder and a chief research scientist of CRI told the Ghana News Agency that the varieties were Quality Protein Maize (QPM) varieties, which contained lysine and tryptophan, the two essential amino acids necessary for the normal growth and development of humans and other monogastric animals such as poultry and pigs. He said Yellow maize varieties were known to be given deeper yellow colour of egg yolk and better quality of meat when fed to poultry. Hence, "farmers have been yearning for a yellow QPM variety for some time now. Golden Jubilee, a yellow version of Obatanpa has therefore developed to meet this demand and also help boost the poultry industry". For the key attributes of the Yellow Maize, it is a yellow dent open pollinated Variety with potential yield of 5 tons per a hectare and matures in 105 to 110 days.

It is suitable for poultry and livestock production and increases growth with high carotene imparting yellow colour to egg yolk, reduces fish meal added to feed for poultry and excellent for enhanced nutrition and health of humans.

For the Aziga variety, Dr Adu-Dapaah said it was another yellow version of Obatanpa that had similar attributes as in the Golden Jubilee but "this variety is more of a flint and dent type", he added. Etuto-Pibi, popularly known as Etubi is a new hybrid whose parental line has better stalk and resist lodging and could be planted on the same day with its single cross parent.

It was to replace Mamaba whose production was cumbersome for most seed growers. Whilst Mamaba lodges heavily, a character that has been traced to one of the parent lines with poor stalks, it is a three-way QPM commercial hybrid.

He explained that with the production of Mamaba seed, the male parents, which are inbred lines, are planted 3 to 4 days before the females, which are single cross to ensure that the periods for flowering coincide to produce good yields.

Etubi is a white flint/dent QPM hybrid with potential yield of 6.5 tons per hectare, matures in 105 - 110 days and has a lodging and drought tolerant and excellent for enhanced nutrition and health of humans.

Dr Adu-Dapaah said Akposoe was an addition to the existing few early and extra-early maize varieties because of the extra advantage of QPM.

He said it was important for farmers to bridge the "hunger gap" before the longer maturing staples were harvested adding, "There are few early and extra-early maize varieties released in Ghana. Aposoe is a white flint and dent open pollinated variety with a potential yield of 3.5 tons per hectare and matures in 80 to 85 days. It is useful to break hunger gap before main harvest and suitable for planting either early or late in the season but drought tolerant. It is excellent for enhanced nutrition and health of humans and excellent for boiling and roasting.

He explained that it could increase the nutritional status in lysine, tryptophan and carotene sources and could reduce infant mortality.

Dr Adu-Dapaah urged farmers to look out for the new maize varieties and called on the public to patronise made in Ghana goods.

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