Resource-poor farmers who are participating in the demonstration farms
being organized by the IITA-led Cassava Weed Management Project (CWMP) have
said that the project intervention is making life easier for them.
According to them, the project is a “burden lifter.” They said they have
“suffered over the years, seeking solutions to weed management in cassava
For farmer Fortunatus Okeke, the IITA-CWMP is perhaps the best thing to
have happened to farmers in recent times.
“It was a ‘new normal’ to hand weed and face drudgery. But now, IITA has
brought solutions to control weeds. We are glad for this,” he said.
Another farmer, Abu Ogundapo who is based in Abadapo village, said that the
yields from the demonstration farm were unprecedented. “We have never had
it so good like this,” he said, while admiring his cassava harvest.
Farmer Esther Ayangbade from Otuu village said, “This project has made
cassava farming easier. I am glad to be part of this.”
Responsible for between 50 and 80 percent of yield losses in cassava
farming systems, weeds rank high among the constraints to cassava
production in Africa, limiting the yield of the root crop to less than 10
tons per hectare in Nigeria.
Farmers plant cassava to the extent to which they can control weeds, notes
Dr Alfred Dixon, Project Leader of the IITA CWMP. For women, who contribute
up to 90 percent to weeding labor, it is a “nightmare” imagining the
emergence of weeds and having to clear them. In some cases, children of
school age are withdrawn from schools to support weeding operations, a
practice that undermines the future of this vulnerable group.
With the interventions of the IITA-CWMP using integrated weed control,
farmers are heaving a sigh of relief from the ‘yoke’ of weed infestation in
The integrated weed management package comprises the use of best-bet
agronomic practices plus the use of safe and environmentally friendly
Using this approach, Prof Friday Ekeleme, Project Investigator for the
IITA-CWMP, has reported that farmers are now doubling the national yield
average of cassava—crossing the 20 tons per hectare mark to 32 tons per
hectare in some cases.
Participating farmers in the demo farms interviewed said they were willing
to adopt the weed management practices, a signpost that the intervention is
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