By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko
Ibadan – The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Cassava Weed Management Project (CWMP) in Ibadan on Wednesday, trained 70 agro-dealers in Oyo State on how to control cassava weeds.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was organised by African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) with facilitation support from KingsApple, an Ibadan-based agri-business consultant company.
Speaking on the event titled: ‘Scaling six steps to cassava weed management toolkit through agro-dealers,’ at IITA, the ACAI Country Manager, Dr Christene Kreye, said the training would be beneficial to participants.
Kreye noted that the training was on how to control weeds on cassava farms using an integrated approach that combined the use of safe and environmentally-friendly herbicides with good agronomic practices.
She assured that the trainees would be better off at the end of the training.
Also speaking, the KingsApple Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Joseph Alloh, remarked that the training would enhance the business activities of agro-dealers as well as help farmers to increase their productivity.
“By the time you go through the training, you will know how to tackle your problems and when you apply the knowledge, it will increase your reputation and your customers (farmers) will have more confidence in you.
“I enjoin you to pay much attention to the resource persons and maximise the opportunity given by the training,” he said.
Also, Dr Godwin Atser, the Digital Extension and Rural Advisory Specialist, IITA, also spoke on the importance of the training.
He said the IITA CWMP had over the last five years worked on how to control weeds in cassava using integrated approach that were environmentally-friendly.
Atser emphasised that farmers who adopted this new integrated system were more than doubling their yields of cassava, getting more than 20 tonnes per hectare.
He explained that the aim of the workshop was to share the new knowledge innovations for weed management developed by CWMP in the framework of ACAI with agro-dealers who would then pass on to farmers.
Atser stated that in many communities agro-dealers were more or less agric. doctors while farmers depended on them for extension services.
He maintained that the training would also provide agro-dealers with knowledge and tools that would empower them in their businesses and help them in attracting and retaining their customers.
He added that the exercise would enable participants to share extension materials developed by ACAI-CWMP and agro-chemical companies to agro-dealers.
The event highlighted the practically application of six steps to cassava weed management, video presentations, calibration and use of IITA herbicide calculator, and safe use and application of herbicides.