NIGERIA – Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC, one of Nigeria’s leading food and agro-allied companies and Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont have entered into partnership for maize hybrid seed development in Nigeria.

According to the company, this move reiterates the commitment of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN) to be a catalyst in the transformation of Nigeria’s Agricultural sector.

The company announced a strategic partnership with Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont as part of pursuance of its core strategic focus of “Feeding the Nation, Everyday,”

The collaboration will see FMN and Corteva Agriscience working together on key aspects of the maize value chain in Nigeria, with a focus on promoting modern farming techniques and practices.

“We are currently in the sustainability testing phase for the most viable varieties suitable for this environment and envisage that the next step will be to establish in Nigeria, a world-class hybrid maize production plant,” said, Paul Gbededo, Group Managing Director, FMN.

“Our business is ultimately about providing for the livelihood of millions of Nigerian families, by ensuring that they have access to great food, and as such, we are focused on building a business that caters for not just their nutritional needs but enriches their lives,” added Gbededo.

It will also improve capacity development and knowledge transfer for the local production and use of improved and quality inputs, including seeds and crop protection.

“We are excited at the prospects of this partnership, and what we can achieve,” said John Coumantaros, Chairman, FMN.

“Corteva Agriscience is a globally renowned company with a wealth of experience in crop protection and biotechnology solutions, and will introduce new and exciting seed production techniques that will help develop the maize hybrid seed market in Nigeria.

Over the years, FMN has invested heavily in the primary processing, aggregation and distribution of locally grown grains such as maize, soybean, rice, sorghum and wheat.

It is also passionate about strengthening the capabilities of small-scale farmers, even as we continue to seek out newer ways of deepening our supply chain.”

“This partnership endorses our commitment to collaboration across the food chain to transform the role of agriculture in society and enhance the livelihood of farmers in Nigeria,” said Prabdeep Bajwa, Commercial Unit Director, Africa Middle East, Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont.

“Our company is investing in innovation, drawing on our knowledge of genetics, chemistry and digital to give farmers in Africa more and better products and ensuring their success.”

FMN and Corteva Agriscience have already started work on demonstration farm plots in Nigeria to showcase high-performing hybrid maize varieties with additional test sites expected to commence soon in Kwara, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Oyo, Nassarawa, Bauchi, Plateau States and the Federal Capital Territory.

Nigeria currently has a national average maize yield of about 1.5 metric tonnes per hectare, which is significantly below the average 2 tons per hectare of maize yields in Africa and 10 tonnes per hectare in the U.S.

Early projections indicate that the adoption of hybrid seed and use of improved farming inputs and techniques will increase maize yields by about 100% in the next five years.

The partnership also seeks to work with relevant Nigerian agencies to strengthen the legal framework for Plant Variety Protection (PVP) in intellectual property laws which will not only guarantee that the country gets access to the best technology solutions but also protect the rights of smallholder farmers.