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12 Commissioners of Agriculture to attend parley on cassava farming systems in Ibadan

The IITA Cassava Weed Management Project and the Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Seed System for Cassava (BASICS) project will share results of research in weed management and seeds systems in cassava this month.

The unveiling of the scientific results is part of the plans for the meeting taking place in Ibadan for BASICS, 14 – 16 March, and IITA-CWMP, 19-20 March.

The results from the two projects will be presented to policymakers, researchers and other partners for possible scaling out to other states in Nigeria. Already 12 commissioners of agriculture in Nigeria have confirmed participation to the meeting. The invited commissioners are drawn from the major cassava producing regions of Nigeria.

“What we are going to share is more or less game changers for cassava production,” the Project Leader, IITA-CWMP, Dr Alfred Dixon said.

Inaugurated in 2014, the IITA-CWMP is a 5-year project with the key objective of addressing weed constraints in cassava farming systems, thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for funding support.

In the last 4 years, the project has developed weed control options drawing from the use of best bet agronomic practices, use of motorized weeders, and the use of safe and environmentally friendly herbicides.

Dixon said the meeting holding 19-20 March will give details of what has been achieved in the last 4 years.

Like IITA-CWMP, the BASICS project will also be sharing findings and the progress made from its work on cassava seed systems in Nigeria. BASICS’ meeting will be on 14-16 March with a clear focus on seeds systems.

The BASICS project will share with researchers and policymakers the latest findings from cassava seeds system, including activities from the semi-autotrophic hydroponics and the village seed entrepreneur model of seed multiplication and multiplication.

Generally, seeds are the bedrock for the quest to increase agricultural productivity. In cassava, the seed system is weak, yet with great potential. The combination of improved seeds and weed management can bring benefits to farmers by raising productivity while at the same time reducing the drudgery of hoe weeding.

Grown by more than 4 million people, cassava is a major source of livelihood and food security to millions of people in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the productivity of cassava has been stymied over the years by poor weed control, a weak or nonexistent seed system, and poor understanding of the agronomy of the crop.

Hemant Nitturkar, Project Director of BASICS, noted that the knowledge generated by the IITA-CWMP and BASICS would redefine the narrative of cassava in Africa by impacting positively on yields at farm level.

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