In an attempt to curb the devastation unfavourable domination of weeds to cassava farming, international body GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) has setup a training of trainers for its 35 lead farmers, farmer cooperatives, extension agents and the N-power youths in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The retraining programme organised by the body aimed at training of farmers and trainers took place recently in Abeokuta was to help farmers to minimize crop losses (cassava and maize) due to weeds infestation.
IITA Digital Extension & Rural Advisory Services Specialist, Godwin Atser took advantage of lessons and experiences adopted from the Cassava Weed Management Project of IITA which has merged with the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI), as he now facilitated this three-day training for 35 lead farmers.
In an exclusive interview with Sunday Idahosa, Value Chain Advisor of GIZ/SEDIN, the we were able to gather that weeds are a major pestering challenge to the productivity of cassava, adding that in some instances, weeding takes from 50 – 80 percent of labor budget for cassava production in the country.
He noted that the training was a dream come true, stressing that it would create an open door for future collaboration between GIZ and IITA/ACAI.
“We are hoping that this Training of Trainers (ToT) would extend to about 1000 farmers from the step-down activities that will take place following the training,” Idahosa added.
The training was well received by participants. For Fatimo Atanda, she said, “This training has improved my knowledge base as an agronomist, with access to rural farmers. As an N-power beneficiary, I can disseminate all I have been taught in the last three days.”
She described the IITA Herbicide Calculator which was given to participants free of charge as a great tool.
“The training has shown that the use of the calculator makes herbicide calibration a lot easier,” she said.
Mrs Taiwo Ayansanwo, Program Manager for the Ogun State Agricultural Development Program (OGADEP), described the training on the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management as a welcome development and called for more of such trainings in the state. She said that such regular trainings would build capacities and help in improving farmers’ knowledge on good farming practices such as record keeping, weed management and safe use of herbicides.
Meanwhile, contents of the ToT were resourceful plans to boost cassava cultivation and utilization : Good Agricultural Practices: Harnessing Experiences/Results from Cassava Weed Management Project, Cassava Agronomy, Principles and Practices of the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management toolkit, Calibration, and Safe Use and Application of Herbicides.