Nodumax set for full production despite the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting global food systems, disrupting regional agricultural value chains, and posing risks to household food security. It has created a heightened awareness of food safety among producers, businesses, governments, and consumers. The agricultural input production and supply industry is facing many challenges around production and logistics. This affected the unit at the IITA Business Incubation Platform (BIP) that produces Nodumax, a biological inoculant developed by IITA researchers and partners.
The team, with support from BIP partners United Phosphorus Limited (UPL)/Springfield which pre-financed all the inputs, needed to continue minimum scale production of the rhizobium/inoculum. IITA BIP has strategically ensured that production continues so that soybean farmers can have access to this yield-increasing inoculant.
Nodumax is an inoculant and biofertilizer with rhizobium as its active ingredient that boosts the yield of soybean by 30—40%. It contains 50% of culture (rhizobia) and 50% of the carrier material (peat). Also, it serves to replace nitrogen in the soil. One sachet of Nodumax will mix 10 kg of soybean seed; only five sachets are needed for planting 1 ha.
Soybean is among the major industrial food crops grown in every continent. Its cultivation in Nigeria has expanded as a result of its nutritive and economic importance and diverse domestic usage.
Soybean has an average protein content of 40% and is more protein-rich than any of the common vegetable or animal food sources found in Nigeria. The seeds contain about 20% oil on a dry matter basis, and this is 85% unsaturated and cholesterol-free. To ensure the continuous production of this crop and for farmers to have better yield and return on their investment, the Nodumax team will continue producing the inoculant with the support of investors UPL/Springfield.
Supplying Nodumax is one of the initiatives of various stakeholders, which include the Nigerian government soybean value chain, UPL/Springfield, Weed Science department in IITA, SeedCo, IITA soybean breeders, and the IITA BIP to increase the average soybean yield in Nigeria to 3–3.5 t/ha. This is to ensure that farmers achieve better yield and income, consumers have food on the table, and industries have raw materials for production.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nodumax team has continued with production and is set to go back to full-scale production. This will ensure that farmers in Nigeria have access to this biofertilizer made in Nigeria.