Putting partners on the same page: Project organizes field visits for ADPs and researchers
The IITA Cassava Weed Management Project has organized field visits to trial sites for staff of Oyo and Abia Agricultural Development Programs, and researchers in IITA and the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike. More than 60 people visited trial sites on the two stations.
The field visit gave an opportunity for the project to showcase firsthand the preliminary results of improved cassava weed management under different agronomic and herbicide regimes.
In IITA, the Project Leader Dr Alfred Dixon while taking the visitors on the field tour stated that cassava is no longer considered a poor man’s crop as everyone is now eating it in one way or the other.
He however noted that the challenge to increase productivity of cassava was weed management. “Farmers cannot grow more than they can weed, and this is responsible for the small farm size which affects the total yield,” he said.
Giving insights into the project, Prof Friday Ekeleme, Project’s Principal Investigator, explained that the project’s trials were basically set up to identify measures to control weeds in cassava production. He emphasized that in any weed management control scheme, land preparation is a vital component as it helps reduce weed pressure.
The Communication and Knowledge Exchange Expert of the Project, Godwin Atser noted that plans were in top gear for disseminating results to farmers.
He said that by addressing the weeds constraint, the project would reduce the drudgery faced by women farmers and attract youths to cassava farming. “We aim to bring back youth into agriculture by addressing the problem of weeds.
Weeds are major disincentives for young people’s interest in the field,” he said.
In NRCRI, about 30 ADP staff visited the trial sites. Fields visited include: agronomic trial, mechanical weed control trial, and weed frequency trial. Dr Moses Okwusi, Communication Focal Person for the project, and Davison Korieocha (Research Associate) took the team round the trials.
The aim of the early engagement is to put the ADP staff and other stakeholders on the same page as the project progresses.