IITA steps up engagement in weed control research
The Cassava Weed Management Project which is being managed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and partners has organized a series of field demonstration visits targeting extension staff, researchers and farmers across the cassava growing zones of Nigeria.
More than 150 comprising mostly persons staff of Agricultural Development Programs in the four states (Benue, Abia, Oyo and Ogun states) and farmers participated in the wellplanned exercise.
In Benue, the Program Manager, Benue Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (BNARDA), Mr. James Ker commended the project team for taking steps to address the problem of weed infestation in cassava farms.
“I am impressed by what I have seen. I am hopeful that soon the problem of weeds in cassava farms will be a thing of the past,” he said during his visit of on-station trials at the University of Agriculture Makurdi.
Earlier at the IITA campus, the Project Leader, IITA Cassava Weed Management Project, Dr Alfred Dixon, while taking visitors on a field tour, stated that “cassava is no longer considered as a poor man’s crop as everyone is now eating it in one way or the other.” He however noted that the challenge to increase productivity of cassava was weed management. “Farmers cannot grow more than they can weed and this is responsible for the small farm size which affects the total yield,” he said.
Tagged “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty”, the theme of this year’s World Food Day seeks to highlight the importance of reducing rural poverty and granting access to food or means to buy food.
Dr Dixon said addressing the weed menace was key to women and youth empowerment, stressing that women contribute more than 90 percent of hand weeding labour and that any effort to address this constraint would have a positive multiplier effect on women’s health and the larger society.
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