Dressed in a Brown trouser and a matching cap, Allan Methu admires his maize plantation. Allan is a Push Pull farmer in Lela, 20km Northwest of Kisumu, he is reaping the benefits of adopting the Push Pull technology in planting his maize crop. The crop is the preferable cereal crop for many families in Africa(approximately 300 million People in Africa have maize as the staple food). Key constraints on maize production include pests, degraded soils, weeds and erratic rainfall.The need to address this challenges was the main motivation behind the development and subsequent up scaling of the Push Pull technology.
Push pull technology involves intercropping the maize crop with desmodium that acts as a pest repellant and planting Napier grass (attractive crop) as a border crop around the crop.The technology introduced two decades ago is helping farmers using the technology stay in business . In developing the technology Dr Zeyaur Khan and his team of scientist sought to address the devastating Striga weed, Stemborer pest and enhance soil fertility,but with time the technology is exceeding expectations.
The fall army worm is the latest threat to farmers. The caterpillar was first discovered in West Africa in 2016 and has since spread to other parts of Sub Saharan Africa.The caterpillar feeds on over 80 species of plants including cereal crops including Maize,Sorghum and Millet that are the staple for many African families. Multiple ways have been suggested to deal with the pest, but an intergrated pest management system provides the most effective and efficient way of dealing with the pest especially among small scale farmers.
Allan Metho is one of the farmers that attest to the Fact that Push Pull Technology is the difference between a good harvest and another bad season. He encountered the Push-Pull technology (PPT) through a field day he attended in a neighboring village, Yenga. Using the information he obtained from the visit ,he adopted PushPull and has seen his production improve because of improved soil fertility and reduced striga. Beyond this benefit, he had good fodder for his animals from Desmodium and Napier grass.In the current season April-July 2018 Mr Metho is optimistic that he will get a good harvest.His optimism is derived from the fact that while the Fall army worm has infested neighboring farms,his push pull farm is free of the caterpillar .“I saw the fall army worm in a neighbors farm last year (2017),when I came to my farm I noticed the worm had eaten the desmodium but surprisingly the worms were dead”