Migori cereal farmers have been encouraged to embrace “Push Pull”, an organic technology to eradicate farm pests and weeds.
An official from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) Thomas Otato explained that push pull is a farming system that incorporates the use of fodders and cereals crops with an aim of managing pests and weeds.
Otato said that the strategy involves intercropping cereals with a repellent plant, such as desmodium, which repels or deters pets and weeds like stem borers and striger weeds from the target food crops.
The official who visited the farmers’ group in Suna East Sub County supported by Ripple Effect NGO noted that the push pull technology is a natural and organic mode of eradicating weeds and pets without interfering with soil fertility, soil erosion and soil population.
Otato said that desmodium, a feeder fodder for animals, was one of the best crops that push pull technology utilises.
He said that desmodium repels rodents like mice and striger weeds that tend to destroy and deprive nutrients in cereals.
He also said that the fodder could be used as feeds for animals with high nutrients of calcium that are used to induce milk in dairy cows.
“We are encouraging our cereals farmers to embrace a less expensive technology of eradicating weeds and rodents instead of depending on pesticides that are not only expensive but also pollute our soils through soil erosion and acidity,” said Otato.
The official said that the push pull technology was being implemented in Western and Nyanza Regions because of the predominance of the striger weeds that have hugely affected the cereal farmers.
Otato added that ICIPE deals with research intervention on animals, plants and environmental health and has been engaging with various stakeholders like the Ministry of Agriculture, local NGO like Send a Cow and the County Government to enable them to identify and mobilise farmer groups for earlier pest and weeds intervention.
He also noted that ICIPE has been helping poor farmers in groups through interventions like the introduction of push pull technology to ensure healthier crop and animal production, food security and sustainable income generation.
The official urged the farmers that had benefited from desmodium seeds to provide vines to other farmers so that they could also implement push pull technology to improve and achieve food security.