Ongoing research by the Cassava Weed Management Project (CWMP) of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) may have recorded a major milestone in its objective to find solutions to the challenge of weeds on cassava farms.
Journalists were led on a trip to a demo plot of IITA-CWMP in Ijaiye, Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo state, recently, to see a thriving cassava farm plot within a farmland that has not been weeded 10 weeks after planting. This was part of efforts by IITA-CWMP to celebrate the World Food Day.
Professor Friday Ekeleme a Principal Investigator in the research said that the feat was achieved by following proper field preparation techniques and use of preemergence herbicides at the time of planting.
Some proper field preparation measures, according to him, include crop spacing at 1m by 0.8m and soil tillage.
He said that the application of an experimental pre-emergence herbicide known as Fierce, was done with the intention of applying a post-emergence herbicide later, but at 10 weeks, the plot is still without weeds and looking as if there won’t be need for the post-emergence herbicide.
Dominican Centre for Human Resources and Development, Ibadan, Rev Father Fortunatus Okeke, who manages the plot, said other plots within the farmland were given similar treatment with the exception in the use of Fierce. He expressed joy over the discovery, saying that it was indeed a major beakthrough in the four-year-old research.
The research focuses on intercropping, cassava variety, spacing, fertilization, tillage research and integrated weed management practices, including the use of herbicides that meet globally accepted standards.
The project is implemented by IITA in partnership with the National Root Crops Research Institute in Umudike, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, University of Agriculture Makurdi, Justice Development and Peace Movement in Oyo and Ogun states, Oyo State Agricultural and Rural Development Program (OYSADEP), Benue State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (BNARDA), Abia Agricultural Development Program, Ogun State Agricultural Development Program (OGADEP), KOLPING, and the Dominican Centre for Human Resources and Development in Oyo State.