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IITA and others launch initiative to tackle weeds

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and two private multinationals in weed control say they are tying up a model to tackle the menace of weeds in Africa.

This was contained in a statement issued on Monday in Lagos by Dr Gbassey Tarawali, Project Manager, IITA_MARKETS Cassava Value Chain Project.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the initiative was being funded by the United State Agency for International Development MARKETS project.

The public private sector model seeks to link resource poor farmers with weed control giants such as Syngenta and Dizengoff, thus guaranteeing the quality of herbicides supplied to farmers.

Tarawali said the two companies have agreed to ensure a steady supply of inputs to the farmers at a discounted rate backed by trainings on the safe use of their products. “IITA, the provider of the platform, will provide technical backstopping to the model. “This initiative will not only control weeds, but will also create jobs in the rural communities and boost yield.

“Analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organisation on the negative effects of weeds on agriculture indicates that weeds create more havoc to crops than pathogens such as fungi or insects pests.

“In Africa where access to farm inputs and labor to control weeds are becoming increasingly scarce, many youths are abandoning farms in rural communities and rather moving to urban areas for white collar jobs,” Tarawali said.

He said the initiative would provide employment for the teeming youths in the rural communities, boost incomes, guarantee food security and make farming more attractive.

“About150 local youths including women representing 15 farmer groups from the South_ Western part of Nigeria have indicated commitment to the programme. “They were engaged in a training workshop at IITA as a prelude to the take off of the initiative,” he said.


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