(Posted Wed. Mar 23rd, 2016)
The National Corn Growers Association welcomed Edwin Uche, director of the Nigerian Corn Growers Association, yesterday for a series of meetings designed to further understand NCGA’s structure and benefit to U.S. corn farmers. Uche, who reached out for a meeting during the Maize Genetics Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, expressed his excitement for NCGA’s work and enthusiasm for doing similar for farmers in Nigeria.
Dr. Richard Vierling, who Uche initially contacted, arranged the meeting at the St. Louis headquarters. Vice President of Production and Stewardship Paul Bertels, Director of Communications Ken Colombini and Director of Development Joe Hodes also participated.
Through a series of in-depth discussions, Uche explored ways in which he could increase corn demand in Nigeria while fostering acceptance of biotechnology and growing the country’s ethanol industry. A proponent of biotechnology in agriculture, Uche also hopes to move more farmers toward this productive technology and away from an ongoing reliance upon open pollinated varieties currently hampering yield in Nigeria.
Discussions yielded insights for NCGA as well. Uche shared his confusion as to how the idea of food versus fuel took hold in the United States, expressing that he sees how corn clearly provides an excellent way to meet both demands simultaneously. Additionally, his pro-biotechnology and pro-ethanol stances fostered hope for potential market growth in Nigeria which could lead to growth in American corn exports to the region.
Uche reached out to Vierling due to his great respect for NCGA’s reputation for success internationally. The relationships built will serve as a basis for a partnership fostering the growing Nigerian Corn Growers Association moving forward.