IITA and private multinationals in weed control, Syngenta and Dizengoff, are working together to tackle weeds in Africa. Thanks to US AID’s MARKETS project, which is seeking to expand and sustain the on-farm productivity and profitability of cassava, in selected Nigerian states.
Analysis by the FAO on the negative effects of weeds in agriculture indicated that weeds do more damage to crops than pathogens such as fungi or insect pests. By training farmers on efficient weed control practices in cassava cultivation it is hoped that higher yields will be achieved giving those in rural communities more income and food security.
The public/private sector collaboration seeks to link these resource-poor farmers with the weed control giants, thus guaranteeing the quality of herbicides supplied to farms. The two companies have agreed to ensure a steady supply of products at a discounted rate and provide training on the safe use of weed controls which will be facilitated by IITA.
Dr. Gbassey Tarawali, Project Manager for the IITA-MARKETS Cassava Value Chain Project, said: “This initiative will not only control weeds but will also create jobs in the rural communities and boost yields.”
Nigeria is the largest cassava producer
in the world, producing 46 million tonnes
of the crop on average each year.
Syngenta and Dizengoff welcomed the initiative and pledged their support to the scheme.
Mr. Goodluck Ogu, Syngenta’s National Sales Manager, said: “We are going to work with you and give you the necessary support.” He added: “Our involvement will guarantee quality supply of herbicides and check profiteering by middlemen.”
Dizengoff described the initiative as a revolution in agriculture. Patrick Ohaji, Manager of Crop Protection and Public Health at Dizengoff, said: “It is a dream come true and we will give you all the necessary support.”