Experts Brainstorm On Weed Mgt Techniques For Sustainable Agric Production By Ethel Timi-Johnson


Issues bordering on effective weed management system and its role in sustainable agricultural production and food security, formed the main thrust of the 46th Annual Conference of the Weed Science Society of Nigeria which held between 4th and 7th November 2018 at the Department of Crop and Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture.

Delivering the keynote address on “Strengthening the Agricultural Value Chain through Sustainable Weed Management,” a Professor of Agronomy from the University of Jos, Nuhu Gworgwor, disclosed that effective weed management could play a key role in minimising crop yield losses and poor-quality produce.  He advocated the adoption of workable policy, including regulatory and institutional reforms to address issues pertaining to agricultural value chain development, especially of weed management practices in Nigeria.

“Weeds reduce yields in dry land crops by 37 to 79 percent and by 40 percent in the early stages of crop production. Weeds also produce the highest potential loss of 34 percent with minimal pests and pathogens being less important with losses of 18 and 16 percent, respectively,” he submitted. Professor Gworgwor recommended a comprehensive approach consisting of Public Private Partnership (PPP) as a prerequisite for tackling key constraints to agricultural value chain development.

Reaffirming that emerging trends in technology and innovation offered hope for sustainable weed control in Nigeria, President of the Society, Professor Musa Kolo, regretted that despite efforts made in the direction of developing new weed control technologies and introduction of new herbicides, weeds still represented a major constraint to global crop production and food security.

“Weeds are also evolving and becoming smart and Weed Scientists have to evolve ways and means of dealing with them, including adopting an integrated management to record success in weed control,” Professor Kolo recommended. He stressed the need to form partnership on weed research and education and to encourage study of weed science at the postgraduate level to encourage the growth of the Weed Science Society of Nigeria.

Welcoming participants to the conference, Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Administration, Professor Regina Ogali, who stood in for the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, observed that sustainable food production in Nigeria and the African continent could only be achieved through improved weed management techniques and innovations. “We cannot hope to attain sufficiency in agricultural production if we cannot effectively manage the weeds that threaten farm yields” the Vice-Chancellor's address read in part. He expressed hope that the conference would serve as a catalyst for strengthening collaboration on the development and transfer of innovative technologies for weed management in Nigeria to improve agricultural production and increase food security.

Papers presented at the conference included: Role of Extension  and Communication in defining Sustainable Weed Management by Professor Olufemi Adesope, Weed Identification: Challenges of Sustainable Management of Grasses in Nigerian Agriculture by Dr. Emmanuel Aigbokhan, Weed Management Options for Curbing Resistance Weeds in Nigerian Cropping Systems by Professor Salihu  Dadari and Presentation of New Weed Management Technology by Professor Friday Ekeleme of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.

Highpoints of the three-day conference included technical sessions, annual general meeting, review of WSSN Journal by former Dean of the Faculty of Science, Professor Gordian Obute and launch of the journal.

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