The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has gathered local and international experts at a conference to formulate integrated methods of weed management on cassava farms.
The conference is the 2017 Annual Review and Work Planning Meeting for Cassava Weed Science Project, taking place at the IITA Headquarters in Ibadan from March 27 to 28, 2017
Nigeria is a global leader in cassava with over 50 million tonnes, however the scourge of weeds has led to a loss of 50 to 90 per cent in yield. Weeding takes 50 to 80 per cent of Also, about 69 per cent of farm children between the ages of five to 14 are forced to leave school and engage in weeding.
To stop these trends, Alfred Dixon, Project Leader, Cassava Weed Management Project, IITA, said, “That is why we have come up with this project which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to come up with weed control options that can fit different categories of smallholder farms so that they can pick the ones they want and be able to control the weeds in their farms effectively without resorting to removing their children from school to assist them.”
Dixon added that, “We have a basket of activities that we are conducting to come up with a series of options which can be used. We are looking at agronomic practices, different safe and effective herbicides and mechanical weeding for different scales of farmers. We are trying to integrate the best of the agronomic practices, the best of the herbicides we are screening, and the best of the mechanical weeding options and put them together so that different scales of farmers: small, medium and large, will be able to select which one fits their socio-economic profile.”