Fighting ‘Witch Weed’ with the Radio in Mali

Fighting ‘Witch Weed’ with the Radio in Mali
Fighting ‘Witch Weed’ with the Radio in Mali
Fighting ‘Witch Weed’ with the Radio in Mali

Striga is a parasitic plant that attaches itself to the roots of host plants, sapping them of nutrients. When staple crops such as millet and sorghum are attacked by striga, they turn yellow, stop growing, and wither. This leads to poor or non-existent harvests and, all too often, hunger.

Striga affects two-thirds of the land that African farmers devote to cereal crops, stunting the crops that families rely on for their staple food. The weed is so pervasive that many experts consider it the greatest obstacle to food security in Africa. It’s so hated that it’s earned the nickname “witch weed.”

FRI partnered with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) on a project to address the scourge of striga and improve yields of millet and sorghum. Radio is being used to engage farmers and share knowledge with them about practical, low cost ways to prevent and control striga and boost their yields – methods like applying compost to planting pits and intercropping millet or sorghum with peas.

We want to give thanks to The McCain Foundation for supporting this project with additional funds, making it possible to impact even more farmers with these radio strategies.