The IITA- Cassava Weed Management Project (IITA-CWMP) has conducted 44 farmer field days across several local communities in Abia, Benue, Ogun, and Oyo states to showcase to farmers, result-driven weed control practices during the Project’s mid-season evaluation. The mid-season field days were aimed at catalyzing the adoption of integrated weed control practices as prescribed in the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management toolkit. The farmer field days were organized following the establishment of demos across the four states in 2018.
The demos were set up using the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management toolkit developed by the IITA-CWMP to assist farmers in weed control.
Farmers that attended the farmers field days attested to the huge difference in plant health and vigor compared to the farmer’s practice as they were taken through the plots to see the progress and evaluate the cassava plants.
Participating farmers in the field days revealed that they would want to adopt the step-by-step approach outlined in the toolkit that was shared with them so as to get the results seen on the demo plots in each of their communities.
With weeds being a major challenge for cassava farmers, the farmer field days organized by the IITA-CWMP demonstrated the results of 5 years of researching the benefit of good weed control using improved cassava varieties, with agronomic practices such as tillage, fertilizer, and appropriate spacing.
The control of weeds which is a significant cost factor in cassava cultivation takes up to 80 percent of the cost in cassava production. Besides, weeds are a big pain to the back of African farmers who spend up to 500 hours per annum stooping to clear weeds from cassava farms during the growing season of the root crop.
The cultivation of cassava as a staple crop across the African continent has experienced low yield due to weeds invasion and this has affected the incomes of farmers, their health and livelihood as well.
In the last 5 years, the IITA-CWMP has developed best-bet research solutions that is being disseminated to farmers thereby helping them access easier and better options for controlling weeds on their cassava farms.