The IITA Cassava Weed Management Project is signing agreements for the setting up of 136 demonstration plots with farmers across four states in Nigeria.
Under the agreements, participating farmers will make available plots of land for the demonstrations. They will also ensure that adequate security is provided on the land during the research duration to prevent theft and cattle invasion.
Hence the demonstrations are farmer-led, farmers will keep records of the farm activities and share these records with the nominated authorized representative of IITA.
They will ensure to apply all the inputs (fertilizer, herbicides, and planting materials) provided by IITA and in the prescribed manner.
Another condition is that farmers will be responsible for all the cost of the farm operations (slashing, burning, ploughing, fertilizer application, herbicides application and harvesting of the plot). They will notify IITA when the harvesting period is due and both parties will carry out harvesting of the crops.
The IITA-CWMP on its part will provide fertilizers, herbicides, and planting materials to be used on the on-farm plot at no cost. The project staff will carry out harvesting on the land in conjunction with farmers, and will be responsible for collating all necessary data on the on-farm demos.
All proceeds, except 30 per cent of cassava stems, from the demonstration plot will go to the farmers provided the farmers keep to the terms of the agreement.
Participating farmers pledged to keep to terms and conditions of the agreements which they said would foster cooperation between them and researchers.
For farmer Afusatu Akinware, the on-farm demonstrations would help the community to learn better and improved weed management practices for cassava production.
“I am glad this project selected our community to gain from the knowledge on weed control,” she added.
Last year, the project established 58 on-farm trials across the cassava producing zones of Nigeria.
Dr Alfred Dixon, Project Leader for the IITA-CWMP said the acceptance of the project by farmers was a welcome development.
“We see high enthusiasm from the farmers, meaning that we are addressing development needs,” he said.