Maize, Zea mays, is one of the most consumed grains in the world. Its uses are enormous, and more uses for it are still being developed. In northern Nigeria, maize is one of the most common grains and is used in a wide variety of ways including in making Tuwon Masara, a popular food in the region. Maize is used for human consumption either cooked or roasted.
It is also secondarily processed to cornflakes, etc. It is also used as feed for animals etc. The maize plant is a heavy feeder and uses up a lot of the soil’s nutrients. It is not advisable to plant maize for more than 2 years on the same terrain without rotation.
Nutritional Value of Maize
The maize grains are very high in carbohydrates and fiber. They are a moderate source of protein, low in fats and oils. The grains contain vitamins and minerals like manganese, zinc, copper, phosphorus, Vitamin B6, etc.
Uses of Maize
Apart from boiling or roasting the maize cobs for eating, the maize plants have numerous day to day food and nonfood uses.
- In making cornflakes, canned corn, corn-beef, cornbread, etc
- As a constituent in animal feed production
- For the production of oil I.e corn oil
- To make biodegradable plastics
- For making explosives etc.
Growing Maize in Northern Nigeria
Maize is grown preferably in raining season but can be grown anytime with irrigation.
Maize requires a very rich soil.
Plant 2-3 seeds per hole with a spacing of 40cm between plants and 80cm between rows spacing. Seeds should germinate within 7days.
When the plants are about 10cm tall, thin them to not more than 2 per stand. This allows the maize plant to develop robust stem and produce bigger cobs. Weed the plant bed frequently during the early stages of development, to avoid strong competition and weed overtaking. Apply organic or inorganic fertilizers to facilitate growth. Water properly especially during the absence of rain.
Pests and diseases of the maize plant include Fall Army Worm, Stemborers, Corn earworm, Downy Mildew, Maize Steak Virus etc.
Maize should be between 70 days – 120 days depending on the variety and purpose of use. For fresh consumption, the maize should be harvested as soon as possible while the kernel is still soft. Otherwise, it can be left to dry for a while on the field. However, the longer it stays on the field, the more vulnerable it is for pest attacks.
Related: Agriculture And Generation Y & Z
States Maize are Predominantly Found in Northern Nigeria
Maize can be grown in the northern states of Kaduna, Borno, Niger, and Taraba, Jigawa and Kebbi.
Major Maize Markets in Northern Nigeria
|KADUNA||Kasuwan Dan Magaji, Kasuwan Sabon Gari, Kasuwan Samaru, Kasuwan Giwa.|
|KATSINA||Kasuwan Danja, Kasuwan chunko.|
|KANO||Kasuwan Wanbai, Kasuwan Wudil, Kasuwan Danbatta, Kasuwan Yan kaba, Kasuwan Sabon gari.|
|NASARAWA||Tsohon Kasuwa, Sabon Kasuwa|
|NIGER||Kasuwan Gwari, Sabon Kasuwan|
|PLATEAU||Kasuwan Building Material, Kasuwan Farin Gada|
|SOKOTO||Kasuwan Wamako, Kasuwan Sabon Birni, Kasuwan Goronyo, Kasuwan Illela, Kasuwan Gwadabawa, Kasuwan Kebbe, Kasuwan Rabah, kasuwan Goronyo, Kasuwan Binji|
|BORNO||Kasuwan Biu, Kasuwan Meringa, Kasuwan Kwaya, Kasuwan Marama, Kasuwan Shafa.|
|GOMBE||Ashaka Gari, Juggol Barkono, Kodom, Malam Sidi, Kurugu, Mana Washi, Kasuwan Dadin kowa.|
|JIGAWA||Kasuwan Mai gatari, Kasuwan Gujungu, Kasuwan Sara, kasuwan Hadejia, Kasuwan Kafin hausa, Kasuwan Shuwarin.|