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CTA. 2004. Upland rice. Rural Radio Resource Pack 04/01. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57384
Mr. Bojang, Head of The Gambia?s Agricultural Communication Unit, encourages upland rice farmers to take advantage of animal traction, as a cost effective way of controlling weeds and carrying out other field operations.
Upland rice Cue: In upland areas of The Gambia, rice farmers traditionally plant their crop by broadcasting, or scattering the seed onto the fields. However, although being a quick method of planting, broadcasting creates problems once the crop has grown, as it is difficult to weed the randomly spaced plants except by hand pulling. Hence upland rice farmers in The Gambia are now being encouraged to plant their rice in rows, using where possible, animal drawn implements. These can save considerable time, and are more affordable for smallholder farmers than chemical means of weed control, as Mr. Abdulie Bojang, Head of The Gambia?s Agricultural Communication Unit recently explained to Ismaila Senghore. Ismaila began the interview by asking what basic rules should be emphasised when discussing control of weeds. IN: ?One, we emphasise timeliness ? OUT: ?do the operation on time..? DUR?N 3?46? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Mr. Bojang of The Gambia?s Agricultural Communication Unit encouraging upland rice farmers to take advantage of animal traction in weeding their crop. Transcript Bojang One, we emphasise timeliness. If you don?t weed on time you will find it difficult to control your weeds and you may find that you spend a lot of time using whether even mechanical or even manual labour to control those weeds. So one important thing is timing of operations. Once you start your planting early, the likelihood is that you may weed early and once you weed early, the thing is you have given the crop the chance to grow vigorously and to be able to resist any attack either by weeds or by other pests that may come into the field. Senghore Now when it comes to specific recommendations what kind of weed control would you recommend for rice production in the Gambia? Bojang For rice production in the Gambia there are two specific control methods that we do recommend. One is the use of ox-drawn equipment to control weeds in the rice crop because quite a number of farmers, most of them do have this equipment. And if they plant the rice in rows particularly in the uplands they will be able to use that equipment to weed between the rows. This is very easy in the sense that, one, it saves the farmer the time that he spends uprooting weeds from his field; two, it is also easy for the farmer to apply fertiliser and then incorporate the fertiliser into the soil for efficient use by the crop. Thirdly it also helps the farmer to actually be able to control other pests in the field which is very very essential. Because if you not plant your crop in rows it will be very difficult to keep that field weed free. And we all know that other insect pests are harboured by weeds and if there are so many weeds in your field the likelihood is that the crop would also be highly susceptible to pest attack. Senghore Now apart from hand picking the weeds in the field and using hoes and animal traction, are there other methods of weed control in rice crops? Bojang Yes another method of weed control in rice crop is the use of herbicide which could either be pre-emergence or post emergence herbicide. This technology has been widely used in the lowlands. The upland farmers are also trying to apply the technology whereby it will save them time, energy and also, to have time for other activities in other crops that they grow in the wet season. And actually the only disadvantage or the only bottleneck in herbicide application is the cost of herbicide. It is very expensive for most farmers to buy and then apply on their field. But it?s a technology which, when adopted, can save the farmer at least 40 days without weeding his field. Senghore In other words if you had to give advice to rice producers in other parts of the Third World maybe even similar conditions to The Gambia, you will tell them to go for the methods that they can afford? Bojang Yes this is very important. This is why we actually advise them to go for these animal drawn equipment because even if you don?t have the equipment yourself either your next door neighbour or maybe one of your relatives may have which can be hired or borrowed and then you can do the operation on time. End of track.