Weed control through conservation agriculture reduces production cost as compared to conventional agriculture. Speaking during a conservation agriculture training on September 20, 2016 for members of Abwetene Self Help Group in Abothuguchi West, Imenti Central Sub County, Mr. Faustian Kiogora, a Production Information Agent with Sokopepe urged farmers to adopt the innovative technology, as they would be able to reduce cost of weeding.
He said that weeds are nature’s remedy for a wounded, unhealthy and bare ground. They can withstand adverse soil moisture conditions in the field.
“Farmers usually adopt different ways of dealing with weeds. Some of the methods are costly, tiresome, and cause environmental pollution,” said Mr. Kiogora.
He noted that weed control during the first four to eight weeks after planting is crucial. During this period weeds compete with the crop for nutrients and water. He noted that zero tillage ensures that only weeds that are one or two inches below the soil germinate.
He urged farmers to keep stalks in the farm after harvesting to serve as mulch for the crops. He said that crop rotation also helps as some weeds usually grow together with certain crops.
“Tall crops leave a large surface area for weed germination, but when rotated with short vegetative crops, they cover the soil and hence prevent weed germination,” said Mr. Kiogora.
Farmers being trained on weed management
He urged farmers to water by hand or drip as this ensures that water concentrates only in the area where the crops are as this reduces weed seeds germination. Chopping off weeds heads before seeding forces weeds to use food reserve, this usually exhausts root bud supply thus reducing their spread.
He said that some harmful effects of weeds include loss of agricultural produce, and reduced crop yields as weeds compete with crops for water, soil, nutrients, light, and space.
Others include reduction of quality of marketable agricultural produce, and release into the soil inhibitors of poisonous substances that may be harmful to the crop plants, human beings, and livestock by some weeds.
On their part, the farmers appreciated Sokopepe’s commitment in reducing agricultural production cost. The members of the group noted that the social enterprise has helped inculcate a culture of record keeping.
“The training has helped us to learn the importance of early weeding and why we need to control weeds,” said Mr. Edward Kaimenyi, Abwetene Self-help group Chairman.