Addressing current and future problems of parasitic weeds in rice.
Significant areas of rain-fed rice in the Sahel, savannah and derived savannah zones of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Madagascar and other Indian Ocean Islands are infested by parasitic weeds. The affected area accommodates some of the poorest farmers of the world. Without appropriate management parasitic weeds in rice are expected to increase in importance in SSA due to their general invasive nature and their abilities to adapt to changing conditions such as imposed by predicted climate changes. The most important parasitic weeds in rice are: Striga hermonthica, Striga asiatica, Striga aspera and Rhamphicarpa fistulosa. The first two are primarily found in free-draining uplands while S. aspera is also found on hydromorphic soils and R. fistulosa is restricted to unimproved lowlands including inland valleys. As parasitic weeds are typical production constraints in subsistence rice production, targeting them would directly contribute to poverty alleviation and food security. This paper provides an overview of the problems caused by parasitic weeds in rice and discusses management options and opportunities for research for development.