Minutes of seminar Simon N’cho

On Monday 24 September 2012, Simon N’cho gave a lunch seminar at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. The seminar was entitled: “Assessing agronomic and socioeconomic factors affecting Rhamphicarpa fistulosa infestation and severity in lowland rain-fed rice farms in Benin”.

About 30 researchers and PhD students from Centre for Crop Systems Analysis and Business Economic group of Wageningen University attended the seminar. Simon first presented his PhD project then gave some background information on the rice sector in Sub Saharan Africa, highlighted the research problem and the objective of the study. Then he continued with the material and methods and the results and discussion.

Some key preliminary results of the study are that:

  1. The current agro-climatic environment (soil status, plot location the valley bottom) exposes rice farms to a higher risk of infestation by Rhamphicarpa weed.
  2. Farmers’ goods management practices (like fallow practice, high rate fertilizer use, herbicide use, etc.) contribute to reduce both, the risk of infestation and the severity of infestation of rice farms by Rhamphicarpa fistulosa.
  3. The current socio-economic environment favour Rhamphicarpa infestation and the severity of infestation (factor like female headed household contribute to increase the probability of infestation and also the severity of infestation significantly).
  4. The double hurdle model results show that the infestation and the severity of infestation of rice farm by Rhamphicarpa fistulosa are two dependent, simultaneous processes and negatively correlated.

The discussion was  mainly focused on the interpretation of the keys variables that were statistically significant in the model results. About the negative correlation between infestation and severity of infestation, we should pay attention when explaining the negative correlation between the errors terms of the two processes. The negative and significant contribution of high rate of fertilizer use (more than 300 kg/ha) on the severity of infestation needs some investigation to access the financial and economic profitability of this practice before any recommendation.

Finally, the participants made some valuable suggestions in order to improve forthcoming presentations and the final manuscript. They stressed on emphasizing the background and giving more details on the methodology of sampling and data collection.