Thursday, 9 July 2015

Cassava Farmers Urged to Tackle Weeds for Best Yields

Photo caption: Farmers standing in cue to get bundles of improved cassava stems distributed during the pre-season training.

Now that it has rained in many parts of Nigeria, Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (CAVA II)  Project, together with the Ondo State Agriculture Development Project (ADP) have urged farmers to adopt prompt and effective weed management in order to safeguard their farmlands against weeds.

The call was made during a pre-season training organised by CAVA II, Nigeria, in Alagbaka Community in Akure, Ondo State. The pre-season training which is the third in a row since the planting season commenced in Nigeria, had in attendance about 200 farmers from different local government areas in the state. Farmers who participated in the training got hand-on-training in weed management and
herbicide use, and urged to use quality planting materials resistant to pest and diseases in order to get best yields.

Speaking at the pre-season training, a Service Programme Officer for the project, Mr Adeloyo Olaniyi, pointed out that opportunistic weeds pose a major challenge to cassava farmers, noting that they inhibit crop’s growth and lower yield. He went further to explain that cassava crop is most susceptible to weed during the first four months after planting, hence the need for early weeding. According to him, “Weed is an enemy to farmers, particularly cassava farmers because it reduces bulking and canopy development. If you can control weeds adequately, root bulking will be facilitated. Farmers must adopt
effective weed control which must be timely because early weeding prevents opportunistic weeds from competing with crops for nutrients, water, light and space.” He however advised that farmers should combine different cultural practices such as manual weeding, use of herbicide, inter-row weeders and cover crops to control weeds in their cassava farms.

In the same vein, the Monitoring Learning and Evaluation Expert for the project, Dr Ola Ogunyinka, emphasised the need for cassava farmers to identify the markets they will be supplying their roots to before cultivation, stressing that it is of the essence that farmers plant the particular variety that is required by the value chain that they will be supplying to, because they will earn more money by doing

He said, “It is important that cassava farmers identify to which value chain they would like to supply their tubers whether it is the starch market or the ethanol market or the garri market and plant the appropriate variety that would give the best yield for that value chain.” He however advised that should take farming as a business and adopt proper agronomic practices in order to have very high yields.

In his remarks, the project’s Technical Expert on Cassava Production, Mr Stephen Olonade, however said that the relevance of the pre-season training is to build the capacity of farmers so that they will adopt good agronomic practices which will help them get better yields. According to him, “Through this training, farmer will know how to grow cassava: how to prepare the land, the time of planting and weed management.”

To round off the pre-season training, six hundred bundles of improved cassava stems were given out to farmers who participated in the training.

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