A professor of crop production in the Kaduna State University (KASU), Ibrahim Sodangi, has described herbicides as “huge blessing” to agricultural production in the country.
Sodangi, who specialises in weed science, said this in Kaduna at the 8th Inaugural Professorial Lecture, organised by the KASU in his honour.
He said herbicides were chemicals used for killing or suppressing weeds, which he described as “plants that grow where they are not desired.’’ According to him, weeds remain one of the most significant threats to crop production and cause of concern among farmers.
“Some of the weeds are like witches, and if not controlled, reduce crop yield, quality, and increase cost of production, while some are poisonous to grazing animals.
“They are aggressive competitors with crops, leading to farmers’ loss of 20 to 80 per cent of crops.”
He stressed that without herbicides, uncontrolled weeds would cause enormous reduction in crop yield and quality, which could lead to loss of billions of naira in agricultural revenues.
The professor pointed out that chemicals had become an integral part of modern agricultural production used in various food production methods around the world, including organic farming.
He said Nigerian economy would suffer great losses and risk the outbreak of hunger without herbicides and other crop production products.
Sodangi, however, noted that persistent use of herbicides could cause soil and water contamination and adverse effects to non-target organisms. He said that in some cases, compounds that result from herbicides’ degradation might be toxic to the environment.
He said herbicides played a significant role in ensuring high crop yield and promoting food security.
He advised farmers to strictly adhere to instructions when applying herbicides in their farms, saying this would minimise hazards. (NAN)