The Cassava Weed Management Project also known as Sustainable Weed Management Technologies for Cassava Systems in Nigeria, managed by IITA, on 15 July, handed over equipment to the University of Agriculture Makurdi to help tackle the menace of weeds in cassava farms.
Among the items were a Toyota Hilux vehicle, office equipment, a motorcycle, and 20 sprayers.
Prof Friday Ekeleme, Principal Investigator of the Cassava Weed Management Project, said the equipment would facilitate the research and called on the University to carefully use and maintain them.
He said IITA was happy to have the University as a partner in the project, and urged the University to redouble efforts towards ensuring that the problem of weeds in cassava is solved.
In his response, Dr Moses Egbe pledged the commitment of the University on the judicious use of the equipment, and promised to ensure that the project’s objectives are achieved.
The University of Agriculture Makurdi is the third beneficiary of an assets transfer. The other collaborating institutions are the National Root Crops Research Institute Umudike, and the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta.
Launched early this year, the Cassava Weeds Management Project aims to increase productivity for at least 125,000 Nigerian farm families and find solutions to the labor-intensive weeding that is usually done by women and children in cassava farms.
The project, led by Dr Alfred Dixon, has the potential to serve as a template for livelihood transformation in cassava-growing areas not just in Nigeria but across Africa.
The 5-year project involves the three collaborating institutions. Other partners include government representatives, Agricultural Development Programs across the States, international cassava scientists, the donor community, and the private sector.