AfricaRice Center has shared its manual weeders with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture- led Cassava Weed Management Project. The weeders include Ring Hoe, Cono Weeder and Straight-spike Weeder. AfricaRice whose farmers face the problem of weeds in rice fields has successfully used these machines in controlling weeds in smallholders’ plots.
“The machines are cost effective and environmentally friendly,” said Dr Francis Nwilene, Nigeria Country Representative for AfricaRice Center, while handing over the equipment to Dr Alfred Dixon, Project Leader for the Cassava Weed Management Project.
Though AfricaRice use the machines in the control of weeds in rice, the organization hopes that the equipment will also perform well in cassava farming systems. “This kind of collaboration is good for international centers especially within CGIAR. We do not need to reinvent the wheel,” Dr Nwilene added.
Dr Dixon thanked AfricaRice for sharing their expertise with the IITA Cassava Weed
Management project. “From my observation, these weeders are better than the hoe. I can see that women using these machines will need not to bend so much. So we will be saving them from backaches,” he remarked.
Already, the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project has incorporated the manual weeders for extensive testing this year. Their suitability in cassava farming systems will open another vista of opportunity for farmers in weed control, and market for local fabricators.