The challenge of weeds against Nigeria’s agricultural transformation was re-echoed at the October meeting of the Nigeria Zero Hunger Forum held in Ebonyi State, southeast Nigeria.
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, in listing the challenges facing the agricultural development of the State, noted that weeds were the most notorious constraint limiting agriculture development in the State.
Worse still, the adulteration of herbicides is not helping matters and undermining efforts by resource-poor farmers to raise their productivity. Expressing concerns over the issue, stakeholders unanimously issued a communique calling on the Federal Government to step up the regulation of herbicides and input market as it was taking
a negative toll on agricultural productivity. They worried that the uncontrolled influx of adulterated herbicides in the Nigerian market further jeopardizes the gains made so far in transforming agriculture.
Since the declaration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, the Nigerian Government has expressed
commitment to achieving all the SDGs by 2030.
Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo has initiated and is leading efforts to help the country to achieve SDG 2 known as Zero Hunger. The former president, with the support of IITA, the World Food Program, and the
African Development Bank (AfDB), has created a forum comprising six pilot states that are desiring to hit the target even earlier.
The meeting in Ebonyi, which attracted about 500 persons in both public and private sectors, is the second after the initial one in Benue state where stakeholders reviewed what participating states are doing to achieve zero hunger.
Governor Umahi and several other stakeholders said that once the problem of weeds is addressed, farmers would have a boom in harvest. This aspiration can only be achieved using herbicides as labor dries up in local communities, no thanks to rural-urban migration. With cassava featuring as a priority crop in Ebonyi and Benue states, Dr Alfred
Dixon, Project Leader for the Cassava Weed Management Project, said the project could provide innovations to help the state to tackle the weed challenge.
“Our innovation in cassava weed management can help states with cassava as a priority crop to tackle weeds in the farms”.