Thank you … and have a prosperous New Year
It gives me pleasure to thank you for the support we received from you in the last one year. You may recall that at the inception of this project we were looking at how to explore and exploit best bet agronomic practices, and the use of herbicides to control weeds in cassava farming systems.
We have made tremendous progress on both fronts. We started with over 40 herbicides in 2014. In 2015, the number reduced to 12 pre- and 5-post emergence herbicides. We are
analyzing our results and in 2016, we will be going on-farm with the best-bet herbicides for trials with our farmers. Our results from the agronomic trials are also being analyzed, and we will be sharing with you in due course. We have made progress in the use of mechanical weeders in cassava farming systems. Work is still ongoing, and in 2016 we will work more with partners to exploit the profitability of the motorized mechanical weeding options. Let me thank Gene Khan, from the United States, who has offered himself available for this work in the years
ahead. Our communication efforts, both internal and external, have been great.
We maintained a positive image and we hope to sustain this in the years ahead. We formally brought on board the Agricultural Development Programs (ADPs) of Abia, Benue, Ogun and Oyo
states. The ADPs are critical partners as will enter the dissemination phase. One area I am most glad is our sustainability drive especially in the areas of training workshops/meetings that we had for all our partners in 2015. Let me conclude by stating unequivocal that IITA has been very supportive, especially for offering us a conducive environment to operate. Let me thank IITA DG Dr Nteranya Sanginga for revamping and championing investment in the weed science program. Also I will like to thank Ken Dashiell, Ylva Hillbur, Kwame Akuffo-Akoto, and all the Directors for their advice and encouragement during this period.
My thanks also go to the Steering Committee and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the support and confidence reposed on this project.
Our partners— National Root Crops Research Institute (Umudike), Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, University of Agriculture Makurdi, National Agency for Food and Drug
Administration and Control, Standards Organization of Nigeria, National Environmental Standards Regulation and Enforcement Agency, and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development—have been wonderful.