Renowned university lecturer at the University of Calabar, Dr. Steve Johnston has advised cocoyam farmers to cultivate the crop under tree shades in order to shield it from the harsh effect of intense radiation from the sun.
Johnston gave the advice in Port Harcourt while delivering his paper at a workshop on “Cultivating Cocoyam Under A Changing Climate”, organized by Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement (CIRCLE) for cocoyam farmers drawn from the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State.
He stressed that the line trees would help to provide shade for the crop against the persistent and intense heat that had arisen from climate change.
“Presently, there is increased solar radiation, and results from recent researches on how to mitigate the impact on cocoyam show that trees can provide shade for the crop”, he said.
According to him, “we advocate planting of trees in lines in your farm, by so doing, the crop would be insulated from excessive heat”.
Speaking further, he spoke on other means of adopting cocoyam farming to climate change and how to overcome the constraints, especially in the South East and South South, Johnston recommended increased use of organic and inorganic manure and more frequent weeding to protect the crop from struggling for available nutrients with the weeds.
He also recommended the application of indigenous knowledge, especially the use of the mud-floor barn for a more effective storage and preservation of the crop.
Dr. Johnston, an Agro-economist graduate advocated for cocoyam rebirth in Nigeria, urging farmers to “feed the crop and soil well for better yield.”
“When you feed the soil and crop well, you get the desired yield and reward for your toils”, he said.
The agricultural expert allayed the fear that some of the health challenges in the country, such as cancer, became prevalent because of the use of inorganic manure to boost crop yield.
He noted that the quantity of fertilizer used by farmers in Nigeria had not been adequate enough to associate the chemical with health problems.Source: The Tide