Solving Africa’s Weed Problem
Food production problems in Africa are perpetual. One of the most serious threats to African food production – the problem of weeds competing with crops – is not being addressed. Currently, African farmers lose 20-100% of their potential crop production due to uncontrolled weeds. The primary method of weed control by smallholder farmers in Africa is hand weeding with short-handled tools – backbreaking work done primarily by women. Labor costs and shortages and other demands on farmers’ time results in less than optimal weeding or weeding being done too late to prevent serious yield losses. Farmers are reluctant to apply fertilizer because these inputs further stimulate weeds. Research has shown that if smallholders used herbicides, hand weeding time could be virtually eliminated. Farmers would have more time available to plant additional crops, apply fertilizers and harvest more crops.
The October 2011 issue of Outlooks on Pest Management included the article “Overlooking the Obvious: The Opportunity for Herbicides in Africa”, a summary of the Crop Protection Research Institute’s report “Solving Africa’s Weed Problem: Increasing Crop Production and Improving the Lives of Women”. In the article, CPRI argues that Africa’s crop production will not improve until the weed problem is addressed with herbicides. Read the article and report below.
Herbicide Demonstration Trials
CropLife Foundation, in cooperation with CNFA and five CropLife member companies, established a series of herbicide demonstration trials in Malawi and Kenya in 2008. Read the progress report summarizing the first year of the project below.
Pictures from the Herbicide Demonstration Trials
See our Video Archive page for footage from the field trials!