Cereals Research Programme

Head Cereals Research

Name: Prof. Rabiu. Adamu
email address:


The Cereals Research Programme is one of the earliest research Programmes of the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR). The Cereals Research Programme is responsible for the development and release of cereals crop varieties which in the past included sorghum, millet, maize, wheat and barley. However, following the zoning of the country into six geo-political areas designated as the North-west, North-east, North-central, South-west, South-east and South-south zones, the number of mandate ceral crops of the programme were reduced to sorghum (Sorghum bicolar) and maize (Zeamays).


The general objective of the programme have emphasis on the development and release of sorghum and maize varieties that are high yielding, drought and striga tolerant and area adaptable to different ecological zones of the savanna region. Furthermore, the development of the varieties are accompanied with the evolution of the most suitable cultural and management practices for optimum and dependable grain yields which have good qualities for both human staple food and industrial use. These general objective are achieved mainly through crop variety improvement, cultural practices and management and crop protection. There are also collaborative research projects with other national and international agricultural institutions as well as their donor agencies (eg. IITA, ICRISAT, ADPs, AGRA, NBL, Pioneer African Harvest, IFAD, DFID, Dupont/Purdue University, Sergenta/Dev Gen, etc).


Achievements of the Programme.

Achievements of the Programme are in the areas of crop variety improvement, cultural practices and management and crop proetction.

i. Crop Variety Improvement: The Programme has developed and released 44 improved sorghum varieties designated as SAMSORG 1-44 while improved maize varieties have been released as SAMMAZ 1-31. These varieties open pollinated and hybrids.

Some of the good qualities of these varieties include the following:

a. Drought tolerance and striga resistance for both sorghum and maize.

b. High yields.

c. Excellent grain quality e.g quality protein maize (QPM).

c. Good sorghum malting quality for industrial beer brewing.

c. Sorghum flour for composite bread, biscuits, cakes, etc.

c. Different maturity classes of varieties of the two crops suit the different ecological areas of the Savanna.

These achievements are IAR contribution to self-sufficiency in local sourcing of raw materials and also serve in conserving the scarce foreign exchange hitherto spent on the the importation of such raw materials.

ii. Cultural Practices and Management: Planting dates, plant spacing (75cm x 25cm), plant population (53,000 plants/ha) fertilizer types, rates and time of application for early medium and late maturity varieties as well as herbicides and pesticides have been accordingly for the different types of varieties.

Challenges of the Programme.

a. Poor funding to research.

a. Lack of modern research equipment.

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