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--=; '+;,;;;; * Saving maize, cowpea from violet vampire JUN_ " "_ '_'""

RASHEED BlSIRIYU RICULTURAL in subrail Africa are making progres.-; towards

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r~rs

ridding the region of the deadly parnsitic. weed-Strip that infests cen:als such as maize and cowpe.1 farms. TIle experts are currently

de....e1oping

sustainable,.

multi-pronged m:lllllgemcnt options that small hokIer

fanners can effecti\'ciy and profitably deploy in their fanns to h.mdle the situation, acmrding to a st:Ul!'ITIeI1t obttIinedoo Friday. Striga is a crop parasite dial is considered to be one of the biggest constmints to agricullllt'e in sub-Sahanrn

Africa. Abo knaY.ll as the \ioIet VlI.lllpire because of the beautiful 'iolet fiowmi it prodlJa'S, the Striga ,"'-"f!d mostly affects cereals such as maize and legumes such as cowpea 19"0"11 in ille region. TIle statement said th.1t farmen; were regularly kJsing 40 10 100 per cent of lheir crops. with toL-u losses amounting 10 ruXlU\ SWlbn

pest suc:iI3 and drains its host of water and vilal nutrients to the point timl the infested plant withers and dies. "What lTIakes Strip much more deadly is that it does most of its damage ulJdelyuund, eYet\ befon: emerging and being ''islele to fanners aba\'!! the soil surface.. By the time UK!"''!!ed and its tell-tale \ioIet nowers appear, it's already too late? there is not much HUll fanners call do to sa,,!! Ulcircrop. • Shiga is said to prcxlufE hundreds of U)()usands of .seeds per plant, leading to lnassr.-e build-up in the soil

that can remain viable for

lTIuny)'ml'S. TIle experts said to COIltroi the parasitic \veed, rarmers commonly used cultural methods and post-emergence herbicides. largely ineffectn'e in protecting the crop as most of the damage has already been done below the groundl wldcrground MAltholighthismaypn;r.ide some relief against Striga, the. herbicides are 1l001.!iclec:fu'e, and are too costly and una\-ai!ab1e for most fnrrner.§ to use in Ule king run,~ Ule)'

~'et'Y }t'lt and afTl!Cting the Ih,diboods of more than 25

smd.

lTullion ~naD hokIer fll!'merS.

in June 20U, a pri\71te public: partner-ship coordinated by

ItSlid, -Likea\'lIlllpire.lhe

l1test.,temenl m:alled that

the of

Intcm.,tional

Institute

Tropical Agriculture, launched a coIL,boram'e: effort known as the Integrated

Strip Management in Africa I>rojed. to de\'eIop a ~ of Strip mntrol. options for smallholder farnlCfS in Kenya and Nigeria. It said the project was funded by Ule Bill & Melind!i Gates Found.1tion and implemented in p;trtncrship wiUI Ule International Maize aoo Wheat lmprumnent Cen~ Tntenwtiollal Centre of lnsect Physiology and Ecology, African Agrirultural Technology foundation, BASF Crop Protection.. and nation:ll agricultural resrarth and extension service; and priV<lte sedor pIa}'efS in Kenya and N"lgeria. II also statal that IS1.1A's mail1 goa] was tD promolI!: pftl\'m Striga management technoklgies Umt could be deplo}~ and work in smaD holder farming conditions. Il abo said, '"11le four-)'ear project focuses on imprmiu&

aa:ess to Striga control solutions tha t include using Striga-resistalll

~

and

cowpea varieties. deploying a ~push"pull' technology Umt irn'OlYeS illtc:rc:ropping a?reals \\ith specifIC Stripsuppressing forage legumes,

using mai1.e: varieties resista.nt to Imazap}T-an herbicide and which kills UreSlrig,a seed as it gmnin.lltes and before it can cause allY damage--encouraging lT1lli7r-legume intercropping and aup rotation; and adopting Striga

It qualed the ISMA Project Manager, Mel Oluoch. as saying. "tesuiteofintegrnttd Striga control interventions being promoted by ISMA will generateanestimaledU5$8.6 million worth or IIlllize and oowpea grain annually in project sites in Kel1ya and

biOl'Ontroitechnologies. -A siylifiol.llt cornponelll of UJe ISMA project is tile identification of best-bet rombinations of the a\-ailable

Nigeria.'" He Slid !hat they W'lre optimistic Umt the intenl!l1tions \1ol,)lJ1d lead to 50 per cellt more )iekls in

Striga control options ror spedf}C !IOcio-e:ologic

maize and more than double the cowpel.! h.11"\1'eS1. in Strigainfested areas, adding lhat

usedincoalingthemaizeseeds

lnr&eting. ~

about 250,000 fanners would dil"ft:lly benefit from the project. One ~ on, it said that the initial oulpuLS of the ISMA project had been encouraging. For instance, In Nigeria, the stntemenl5:liil the project worked",ith loocommWlities in Strig,a hotspotsin Kaooand BauchiStltesandestablished

sao on-faml demonstrations

of im~ CO\Ypea, mam:, and soybean \'arieties nkmg ",ilh Striga management

technologies.

Farmers demand creation of nurseries in cocoa producing states SUNDAY ABDRISADE

il E CocoaFarnler5 Association has appe..lled to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture toexpedite action on the creation of nurseries ill al! the cocoa produci ng states. TIle farmcrs, in a Ictter addressed to the Minisler of Agriculture, Dr. Aki nwumi Adesi na, o n Fridny, said the action became necessary in order to revitalise the various cocoa fnrms with new yields. TIle letter,9 copy ofwhich

T

was made_available to our correspondent in Akure, the Dndo Statecapital, was signed byUleCFANNatioMl " resldcnt, Chicf Raimi Arlcn iji, and it.sSecretary, Mr. Adeola Adegol:e. The farmcnmrged the ministCl" to direct the rele\·anl agencies to start work on the project,which hnd been agreed upon by him d uring Illl earlier meeting wi tl! the g.roup il10rder to meet the eurrent planting season. The fnrmersalso demnnded the inclusion or U1timax plus in Ule list of

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ngro-chemica\s,which the ministry wanted to jlrocure for the use of farolers in the country. TIley said, "Variousstate governments bad been procuril1g it O\-er the years and we find it e\-eryuseful and dfeclh·c. We would be grateful if it was among the chemicals tbalthe Federal Go>.'emment would procure Ibis year: TIle farmers pledged to collaborate with the gOV1!mment to produce the finest rocoa bea n and increased its production in Nigcria.

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We rejoice with you and the famify on attainment of the Golden age. We pray that our almighty God will renew you from slI'enght (0 strength

as he adds life to your years, May you continue to enjoy as much happiness as today's,

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Emmanuel Emedo I Adedovin "d'edJ!g~(L Sunday Udoh I Kayode rw.i~kiiltliil.fio,~~


THE PUNCH, 24 JUNE, 2012