This week’s story from Malawi shows the potential benefits of intercropping pigeon peas with maize. Intercropping can indeed benefit farmers, as long as the intercrops are chosen carefully. Our script of the week presents several ways to control striga weed through intercropping.
Striga poses a terrible problem for millions of farmers. Women especially spend a lot of time hand pulling striga. Striga attaches itself to the roots of crops such as rice, maize, millet, sorghum, cowpeas and sugarcane, 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.