The NRCRI has developed a new variety of potatoes that is resistant to blight.

NRCRI Produces New Potato Variety To Tackle Blight Outbreak 

The National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) has recently developed a new variety of potatoes to tackle the outbreak of blight in the North Central Zone.

Last year, the last outbreak of potato blight was experienced by farmers in Plateau, leading to the destruction of over 32,000 hectares of farms.

Dr. Khaya Shuaibu of NRCRI, who announced this at the Green Field Day, organised for farmers in Bokkos, said biotech potato is resistant to the disease and could produce good yield without the application of fungicides and other chemicals.

Shuaibu also explained that the initiative was supported by the Global Biotechnology Potato Partnership (GBPP), under its “Feed the Future Global Biotech Potato Project Nigeria,” adding that the new variety will encourage more investments in the potato value chain.

“NRCRI is collaborating with national and international partners to develop this, and the choice of Plateau for this trial is because the state produces 90 per cent of the potatoes in Nigeria,” he said.

Read Also: Nigeria to Deploy Genome Editing Tech to Boost Food Security — NABDA

The researcher, who also doubles as the Trial Manager of GBPP for the project, emphasised that the move would boost production and enable farmers’ access to better yield and income.

Similarly, he stressed that the field day was aimed at sensitising farmers, extension workers and researchers on the need to embrace the new product, saying, “It is also intended to showcase our research findings on the new variety.”

Speaking also, a former Commissioner for Agriculture in the state, Dr Hosea Finangwai, stated that Plateau and its neighbouring states were blessed with good weather and fertile soil for the production of potatoes in large quantity.

Finangwai, who is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Plateau State University, Bokkos, said the institution was not only equipping its students with theoretical knowledge but also the practical aspects of modern farming.

According to him, the institution was partnering with various local and international organisations to support improved yields for the farmer and also enjoy the dividends of their produce.