Preliminary results from experimental plots carried out by researchers working under the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) led Cassava Weed Management Project has shown that by switching to improved weed management practices, Nigerian cassava farmers can double current national average yield of 12-13 tons per hectare.
The current national average yield of cassava puts the yield per stand of cassava plant at 1.2-1.3 kg.
However, recent harvest from trial plots recorded a breakthrough as a single cassava stand at Igbariam in Anambra State produced 34 kilograms roots.
“Elsewhere our preliminary results show that average national yield of 20-39 tons per hectare is achievable if farmers can simply adopt and use improved weed management practices,” said Dr Alfred Dixon, Project Leader for the Cassava Weed Management Project.
“The results we are seeing in the field reinforce the fact that weeds are a major factor limiting yield and eliminating them (weeds) from cassava can help African farmers benefit more from the investments in research,” he added.
Researchers estimate that in uncontrolled fields, weeds wreak havoc on cassava pulling down about 80 per cent of cassava yield. Women farmers who bear the brunt of keeping cassava farms weed free in most cases end up with backaches.
Dr Adeyemi Olojede, who is the Coordinator from the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike, described the results as “great.”
“Nothing special was done to the cassava fields. All we did was to ensure the fields were without weeds,” he said.
Though weed control is a major bottleneck to cassava production, it has never gained desired attention as compared to pest and diseases of livestock.
Prof Friday Ekeleme, Principal Investigator, Cassava Weed Management Project observed that weed control in cassava is a major constraint to productivity because the crop is left for a long time in the field usually 9-12 months before harvest. Farmers …Read More
Source:: New Mail