To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

December 30, 2010

Striga weed needs more spirited efforts against it

by C. Bukenya

In 2008, a looming crisis was reported in Western Kenya and parts of eastern Uganda. This crisis was about the prevalence of striga weed, which was increasingly threatening the production of cereals, particularly maize. Since then, striga has continued to spread to new areas with devastating effects on crop yields and serious consequences for household food and income security.

Reports show that striga is infesting between 20 million to 40 million hectares of farm land in sub-Saharan Africa. It leads to drastic decline in the yield of crops like maize, millet, sorghum and rice. Believed to be a parasitic plant, striga competes for water and nutrients from the roots of the crop thereby reducing its growth. For example, the weed reduces the yield of maize by more than a half and leads to complete crop failure in severe cases.

In Uganda, striga infestation has been reported in the eastern districts of Busia, Budaka, Tororo, Namutamba and Iganga.

Because it has very small seeds and attractive flowers, striga can easily be spread by farm tools and equipment, wind, water plus animals and human beings.

There is ongoing research aimed at addressing the striga problem, both in Uganda and elsewhere. The research has focused on augmenting the conventional agronomic field management practices, such as crop rotation with the application of nitrogen fertilisers and herbicides in addition to the use of crop varieties that are resistant to the weed.

Unfortunately, these efforts have not yet yielded effective and practical solutions for controlling striga. As a recent visit to Bulamagi sub-county in Iganga district revealed, both traditional methods of weed management and individual farmer innovation do not seem to offer much success.

The striga weed problem has also not received much attention from government agencies like NAADS and the district production departments. I believe that the striga weed problem calls for urgent strategic intervention and concerted efforts involving sensitisation and mobilisation of communities in the same way the water hyacinth problem was addressed.

The writer is a lecturer at Makerere University

New Vision

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by Ourblogtemplates.com

Back to TOP