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IITA-CWMP, BASICS set to share results in cassava farming system


IITA executive, Dashiell Kenton

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (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.
Unveiling of the scientific results is part of the plans for the meeting-taking place in Ibadan for BASICS, between March 14 and 16, and IITA-CWMP, for March 19 and 20.
The results from the two projects will be presented to policymakers, researchers and other partners for possible scaling out to other states. 
Already, 12 commissioners of agriculture have confirmed participation at 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 five-year project with the key objective of addressing weed constraints in cassava farming systems, courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for funding support.
In the last four years, the project has developed weed control options drawing from the use of best bet agronomic practices, use of motorised weeders, and the use of safe and environmentally friendly herbicides.
Dixon said the meeting holding in March 19 and 20 will give details of what has been achieved in the last four 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.
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 four 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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