BASF partners with research institutes reduce crop loss in Africa

BASF partners with research institutes to reduce crop loss in Africa

2:38 PM, 6th June 2011
BASF partners with research institutes to reduce crop loss in Africa
BASF headquarters in Germany.

  • Four-year agreement to combat “invisible” Striga weed
  • Partnership includes leading agricultural research institutes



 LIMBURGERHOF, GERMANY: BASF and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) announced a four-year project to reduce crop loss due to the parasitic Striga weed (Striga hermonthica and S gesnerioides) from the maize and legume fields of Kenya and Nigeria.


Striga presents a serious threat to Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region, causing crop losses of up to $ 1,2 billion in maize and cowpeas alone. By project end in 2014, organizers estimate that over 250,000 individual farmers will potentially see up to 50 per cent higher maize yields (2.25 ton/ha) and 100 per cent higher cowpea yields (over 1 t/ha). Funding for the project comes from a four-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to IITA to implement and evaluate four different approaches to controlling the parasitic weed.  


BASF is making an in-kind donation of research and development resources and is also providing technology access to its StrigAway production system to support the development and testing of one approach.


“Previous initiatives have used single bullet approaches such as hand weeding or conventional herbicides. The current initiative uses diverse technologies in an integrated way. BASF’s technology is one potential solution because it attacks this parasitic weed where it lives and grows: underground,” said Dr Alpha Kamara, Acting Project Manager and Systems Agronomist, IITA. “One problem has been that many farmers and seed dealers in SSA either cannot access or properly store high-quality seeds coated with BASF’s herbicide,” added Kamara.


BASF will also oversee regular on-site training in order to ensure proper handling and quality control. The team believes that this joint commitment to support sustainable and economically-viable agriculture will significantly reduce Striga infestations and provide the technical and practical foundation for considerably higher yields in the years to come.

(C) WOC News




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