Monday, July 18, 2011

Lost Crops of Africa: African Crops (and Weeds) Thriving

Groundnuts (peanuts) growing at the CTI/UMN plot
By Tiffanie Stone, CTI Intern

verything is growing and thriving, including the weed population. From day one, we knew that weeds would be the biggest obstacle to overcome with this project. Most of the crops were planted in 30 inch rows which can be cultivated. The only weeds we need to worry about with these are within the rows, thanks to Dick Winkel and his cultivator. Watching Dick handle this one- row cultivator is like watching a master at work.

The teff varieties and the amaranth were planted in 6 inch rows which makes it impossible to cultivate and difficult to hand weed. To help control the weeds we used herbicides. We sprayed Select on the amaranth two weeks ago which killed all the grass weeds. It took several days for Select to kick in, but it kicked all the grasses effectively. Now the biggest problems are the many off types and red root pigweeds that need to be pulled by hand. This week we sprayed the teff with a broad leaf herbicide called Arctic 3.2. It worked like a charm; the effects could be seen the very next day. Hopefully, they will kill the broad leaf weeds completely. Grasses, especially barn yard grass still needs to be pulled out from the teff, but the herbicide was a huge help.

Due to the warm weather we had quite a leaf hopper population in the groundnuts (peanuts). Leaf hoppers are partial to legumes, so only the groundnuts were infested. They were just starting to show signs of distress. Thankfully, we were able to diagnose and spray with an insecticide to take care of the problem. The peanuts may need to be sprayed every two weeks. We will spray on at an as needed basis.

Having the support of the many great people at the U of M and at CTI has been invaluable. I don’t believe in magic elves, so I know some of you are weeding when I am not here. I see the evidences all the time. You are all making this project possible. I want to end with a big thank you to all who have contributed to the project in any way, shape or form. I so appreciate it!

Friday, July 8, 2011

CTI Technology at Work - Dodoma, Tanzania

Mrs. Grace Daudi, head of the Mpito Women's Group
in Dodoma, Tanzania. Grace recently acquired a CTI grinder,
which her group uses to produce peanut butter for their business.
“Mrs. Grace Daudi is doing well with her Ewing 4 grinder and she has managed to increase her peanut butter production. Mrs. Daudi said that in less than an hour she can process 10 kilograms of groundnuts into peanut butter.”  - Elias, CTI's technician in Tanzania