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CTA. 2004. Vegetables. Rural Radio Resource Pack 04/01. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57393
Weed specialist Dr David Mburu advises vegetable farmers on the use of herbicides and the importance of good seed bed preparation.
Vegetables Cue: The growing of vegetables for sale in urban markets has attracted many farmers wanting to increase their income, and has also improved the access of urban populations to nutritious foods. But vegetable growing is a labour-intensive activity, and with rural to urban migration occurring in many countries, labour shortages in rural areas are common. How then should vegetable growers undertake traditionally labour-demanding tasks like weed control? Using herbicides is one option, but farmers who decide to use them must be sure they have a reliable source of advice on which ones to use and how to apply them. Using mulches made from plant remains such as straw can also be very effective. A covering of mulch spread around vegetable plants helps to prevent weed growth. In our next report, David Mburu, a weed specialist based at the National Agricultural Research Labs in Kenya, explains to Eric Kadenge more about weed control in vegetable crops. He begins by describing how vegetable farming is developing in Kenya. IN: ?Vegetable farming has moved ? OUT: ?be no weeds in the field.? DUR?N 3?12? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Dr David Mburu stressing the importance of good land preparation for controlling weeds in vegetable crops. Transcript Mburu Vegetable farming has moved from a traditional farming method to a cash crop method. The farmers are diversifying into crops such as cucumbers, garlic, onions, both red and white, tomatoes are being grown in a wide variety, French beans - these are some of the crops. Kadenge And having mentioned some of those horticultural crops, what are some of the methods of weed control that farmers are currently using in controlling the weeds that affect these crops, and how effective are they? Mburu A survey we carried in 1990 showed us that there were myriad of problems the farmers were encountering in production of vegetables in as far as weeds are concerned. Take for example the onion crop. The onion crop is a very lucrative crop in Kenya. It is very useful; it is used as a salad, Kenyans use it a lot in frying and the onion crop is a very problematic crop as far as weeds are concerned. Why? Because the onion crop is a poor competitor with weeds. It does not form a canopy and therefore for the onion you have to control weeds throughout the season. Unfortunately for onion if you do deep cultivation you damage the bulbs and the crop is damaged so you have no crop. So what we suggest for onion, the use of herbicides has been found to be very effective. So for onions we don?t encourage hand weeding because of damage to the bulbs. For tomatoes Selco and the common name is Metribuzin is a product that is very effective and it is applied pre-emergence before transplanting the tomatoes. For beans it's a good crop because it forms a canopy and it is able to suppress any other weed growth. Kadenge And as a parting shot, what last word would you have for a farmer listening to this interview about this issue of weed control? Mburu From the work that we have done we have advised farmers make sure you get certified seeds, such that you don?t have any weeds in the seeds - that is one. Two, they should never let weeds produce seeds so that they can reduce the seed bank in the soil. The other thing is during land preparation, you make sure that you have the land well prepared. Weed control starts with the seed bed preparation. If you prepare a good seed bed, you have started controlling weeds because vegetable crops are very sensitive to weed competition and they should be done such that for the next 2 to 3 weeks after planting or transplanting there should be no weeds in the field. End of track.