Hoe, hoe, hoe
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CTA. 1999. Hoe, hoe, hoe. Spore 79. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48327
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T.O.Romaric Dekou, from the Association of Primary Producers in Covedji, Benin, replies to R. Rabezandrina who said, in Spore 75 p.10, that using weed-killers turns the soil and protects it better against erosion than when you hoe or harrow it to...
T.O.Romaric Dekou, from the Association of Primary Producers in Covedji, Benin, replies to R. Rabezandrina who said, in Spore 75 p.10, that using weed-killers turns the soil and protects it better against erosion than when you hoe or harrow it to prevent weeds. Mr Dekou reminds us that turning the soil is especially good for its porousness. Rain water erodes because it does not penetrate the soil, and the flow of water leads to soil degradation, removal of soluble nutrients and leaching. 'Using weed-killer means that the soil is more or less bare throughout the growing period and even after the harvest. If a farmer is happy about that, then he has only to accept the gradual deterioration of his soil. In fact, when a crop is planted and the soil is left unturned, a crust develops on the surface around the plants. This crust prevents rain water from infiltrating the soil.  Some people say that, even before hoeing, the weeds have removed too many nutrients to the detriment of the plants, and that this is why weed-killers should be used. I do not agree with that, since the dead weeds left after hoeing form a green cover which protects the soil from heat, and will later rot and turned into a source of humus. I know that manual cropping is difficult, but we have to practice it.  The farmer can plough, harrow and hoe to keep down weeds, whilst keeping the fertility of the soil more or less the same.' Our correspondent closes his letter with the remark that 'if people's level of knowledge means they feel bound to use weed-killer, then something is wrong.'
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