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Avoiding herbicides increased food security

To eliminate hunger

Photo of Musa Muhammad Harun
5 2

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

State Primary Health Care Development Agency

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Government

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Just beginning now

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Geographically Maiduguri is location @ Coordinates: 11°50′N 13°09′E. It occupies an area of 50,778 square kilometers.

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.


Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Maiduguri. Maiduguri /maɪˈduːɡʊri/ is the capital and the largest city of Borno State in north-eastern Nigeria. The city sits along the seasonal Ngadda River which disappears into the Firki swamps in the areas around Lake Chad.

Climate: BSh

Country: Nigeria

Elevation: 320 m (1,050 ft)

State: Borno

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

if herbicides are not used properly, damage may be caused to crop plants, especially if too large a dose is used, or if spraying occurs during a time when the crop species is sensitive to the herbicide. Unintended but economically important damage to crop plants is sometimes a consequence of the inappropriate use of herbicides.

In addition, some important environmental effects are associated with the use of herbicides. These include unintended damage occurring both on the sprayed site, and offsite. For example, by changing the vegetation of treated sites, herbicide use also changes the habitat of animals such as mammals and birds. This is especially true of herbicides use in forestry, because biodiverse, semi-natural habitats are involved. This is an indirect effect of herbicide use, because it does not involve toxicity caused to the animal by the herbicide. Nevertheless, the effects can be severe for some species. In addition, not all of the herbicide sprayed by a tractor or aircraft deposits onto the intended spray area. Often there is drift of herbicide beyond the intended spray site, and unintended, offsite damages may be caused to vegetation. There are also concerns about the toxicity of some herbicides, which may affect people using these chemicals during the course of their occupation (i.e., when spraying pesticides), people indirectly exposed through drift or residues on food, and wildlife. For these and other reasons, there are many negative opinions about the broadcast spraying of herbicides and other pesticides, and this practice is highly controversial.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

  1. It is best to stop using the herbicide in question and other herbicides with the same mechanism of action. However, in many cases the herbicide continues to work on a large number of weeds and is still the best choice for overall weed control. If the decision is made to continue using the herbicide, there are several options:
    1. Use proactive weed control (pre-plant or pre-emergence) with an herbicide tank mixture or pre-pack having at least one mechanism of action that is known to control the resistant weed.
    2. Use post-emergence herbicides only in tank mixtures or pre-packs with at least one mechanism of action that is known to control the resistant weed.
    3. Do both a. and b.* Any of these options provides at least one additional MOA that will help to prevent further spread of the resistant weed. In addition, other weed control tools should be used to complement the MOA that is still active on the resistant weed so that undue selection pressure is not placed on the additional MOA.
  2. If the resistant weed is confined to relative small areas, take steps to prevent seed production.  If the weed is still small enough to control with other herbicides, treat the affected spots. Alternatively, the weed could be removed by hand, or the crop in infested patches could be sacrificed and the weed controlled by destructive tillage or with the use of a non-selective spot herbicide application. Do not let resistant weeds go to seed.
  3. Avoid moving seed or vegetative propagules to other fields and farms. Use a power washer or compressed air to help remove seed and plant parts from any equipment used in the field. If any fields have a history of herbicide resistant weeds, use farm equipment in those fields last.
  4. Seek advice from the Cooperative Extension Service, your agricultural retailer, crop advisor, and/or University Extension weed specialist to assist in the long term planning of weed control in subsequent crops.

Adhering to the resistance management principles outlined above will help delay or prevent resistance from recurring and prove beneficial in managing resistance the long term

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Herbicides is very toxic and cause damage to our non targeted soil micro organisms, if avoided there will be food security in the place. 

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

The intention of any herbicide treatment is to reduce the abundance of weeds to below some economically acceptable threshold, judged on the basis of the amount of damage that can be tolerated to crops. Sometimes, this objective can be attained without causing significant damage to non-target plants. For example, some herbicides can be applied using spot applicators or injectors, which minimize the exposure to non-pest plants and animals. Usually, however, the typical method of herbicide application is some sort of broadcast application, in which a large area is treated all at once, generally by an aircraft or a tractor-drawn apparatus.

An important problem with broadcast applications is that they are non-selective—they affect many plants and animals that are not weeds—the intended target of the treatment. This is especially true of herbicides, because they are toxic to a wide variety of plant species, and not just the weeds. Therefore, the broadcast spraying of herbicides results in broad exposures of non-pest species, which can cause an unintended but substantial mortality of non-target plants. For example, only a few species of plants in any agricultural field or forestry plantation are abundant enough to significantly interfere with the productivity of crop plants. Only these competitive plants are weeds, and these are the only target of a herbicide application. However, there are many other, non-pest species of plants in the field or plantation that do not interfere with the growth of the crop plants, and these are also affected by the herbicide, but not to any benefit in terms of vegetation management. In fact, especially in forestry, the non-target plants may be beneficial, by providing food and habitat for animals, and helping to prevent erosion and leaching of nutrients.

This common non-target effect of broadcast sprays of herbicides and other pesticides is an unfortunate consequence of the use of this non-selective technology to deal with pest problems. So far, effective alternatives to the broadcast use of herbicides have not been discovered for the great majority of weed management problems. However, there are a few examples that demonstrate how research could discover pest-specific methods of controlling weeds that cause little non-target damage. These mostly involve weeds introduced from foreign countries, and that became economically important pests in their new habitats. Several weed species have been successfully controlled biologically, by introducing native herbivores of invasive weeds.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mohammed Hassan (PhD)

Hello Musa Muhammad Harun,
Its remaining few days (5 days) to submit the work (Dateline: 31st January, 2020). Try and have a look at the Food System Vision Prize Submission Pocket Guide in the following web page: It will help you refine your work.
Best regards,
Mohammed Hassan.

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