In his search for a solution to the problem of weeds that limit African rice production, Jonne Rodenburg works at many levels, from genetic research to production systems. One of his findings is that farmers’ practices and considerations must be included in crop and weed management strategies. There is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all solution.
In his many publications, Jonne Rodenburg has presented some frightening statistics. For example those on the losses in African rice due to uncontrolled weeds. In lowland areas, as much as 28%–74% of the rice crop may be lost, while in upland systems the losses can be 48%–100%! Weeds represent a huge threat to food security in Africa, and indeed worldwide. One of the major culprits is the parasitic weed Striga hermonthica, also known as witchweed, an attractive plant with bright pink-purple flowers. ‘You could almost grow it as a houseplant,’ Rodenburg says.
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