Crop rotation and intercropping reduce damage from striga weed

| February 10, 2019

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This week’s Farmer story from Togo talks about the benefits of crop rotation and intercropping. Our Script of the week highlights one particular benefit of the two practices: managing striga.

The weed striga poses a terrible problem for millions of farmers. Women especially spend a lot of time pulling striga from the fields. Striga feeds on rice, maize, millet, sorghum, cowpeas, and sugar cane, and can damage up to 70% of crops in a field. The key to managing striga, also known as witchweed, is to use a variety of control methods at one time. Crop rotation, intercropping, planting resistant cereal varieties, soil fertilization, and hand weeding are all important methods that should be used together when managing striga. This script discusses crop rotation and intercropping in particular.

One section of the script refers to Desmodium, a forage crop that has shown some success in reducing striga growth when interplanted between rows of maize. If possible, before you air this program, find out whether this crop grows locally in your area and/or how farmers might be able to obtain it.

Farmers in your listening audience may know other successful methods of controlling striga. If possible, conduct interviews or gather additional local information to include in your program.