SIGNIFICANCE OF AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION IN ADDRESSING THE IMPACT DUE TO WEED INFESTATION ON MAJOR CROPS IN DISTRICT BAJAUR KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA PAKISTAN
The current study investigated the impact of weeds on major seasonal crops in district Bajaur Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The aim was to know the prevailing weed management system and encourage the farmers to integrate cultural practices with chemical control measures. A three stage stratified sampling technique was adopted to collect data from the selected respondents of through a well-designed interview schedule. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS v 20) was used to analyze the primary cross-sectional data and the obtained findings were depicted in tables and figures. Descriptive statistics revealed that majority of the respondents i.e. 31.3% were of middle age with 63.9% illiteracy rate and 60.8% reported living in household size of 10 and above family members. Echinocloa crus-galli was the most invasive among Kharif weeds as reported by 26% respondents, while among Rabi weeds, Convolvulus arvensis was the most reported weed as mentioned by 21% respondents. The study established that maize and wheat are the main crops impacted by Kharif and Rabi weeds respectively, where mechanical weeding was the most applied control method adopted by 51.8% respondents, followed by chemical (42.2%) and manual weeding (6%) in the study area. Study observed a significant decrease in crops yield due to various weeds found in farmers’ fields. Effective extension services are needed to encourage farmers integrate cultural practices with chemical control management in order to get better crop yield and avoid environmental and human health hazards.