The Cassava Weed Management Project, which is being managed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria that ensures manufactured products entering Nigerian market give the required degree of satisfaction to consumers through compliance with government policies on standardization and conformity assessment.
The SON also ensures that goods imported into the country meet the minimum requirements of industrial standards or any other approved international standards.
The MoU seeks to establish a link to foster cooperation for the development and implementation of collaborative programs while highlighting the framework for the partnership between both organizations.
Areas covered in the MoU include exchange of scientific information and developing specific cooperative programs and projects, especially in the areas of standardization. Linkages between IITA and SON scientists were also listed.
Dr Alfred Dixon, Project Leader, IITA Cassava Weed Management Project, described the signing of the MoU as a remarkable milestone in efforts to help address the problem of weeds in cassava farms in Nigeria.
“The weed challenge is a huge task and we need all hands to be on deck to solve this problem,” he added.
Launched in 2014, the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project is employing the use of best-bet agronomic practices, mechanical weed control options, use of environmentally friendly herbicides, and the integration of the three options to control weeds.
So far, the project has procured, and is adapting mechanical weeders in collaboration with Nigerian engineers. Once completed, local fabricators will be trained on the fabrication of those weeders for onward dissemination to farmers.
Prof Friday Ekeleme, Principal Investigator, IITA Cassava Weed Management Project said; “Our goal is to help farmers control weeds and improve the productivity of cassava.”
The IITA Cassava Weed Management Project is implemented in Nigeria by IITA in collaboration with the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike; Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, and the University of Agriculture Makurdi. Other partners include the Agricultural Development Programs of Abia, Benue, Ogun and Oyo State.