Building Knowledge for Action to avert the Climate threat in East and Horn of Africa

Building Knowledge for Action to avert the Climate threat in East and Horn of Africa

The Kenyan-based African Insect Science for Food and Health (icipe) launched yesterday on 30th march, 2011 the most avoidable technology system, (ADOPT) Adaptation and Dissemination of the ‘Push-Pull’ Technology to Climate Change and is also a kind of preservation on agriculture approach for smallholder cereal livestock production in drier areas to withstand climate change.

icipe invited a team of journalists to cover the event and the journalists acknowledged that there was forgotten and neglected activities on the ground and from icipe the trip of the journalists were also made a tremendous impact to know how the Yenga village in Kisumu community are dealing with the ‘Push-pull’ technology, dozens of vulnerable people profited the ‘Push-pull technology said” Mr. Remjus Bwana who is one of the smallholder farmers in the village.

Speaking during the launch, icipe Director General, prof. Christian Borgemeister said “In the past 17th years, ‘Push-pull’ has been adopted by over 40,000 smallholder farm families in east Africa resulting in maize yields increases between one ton to 3.5 tonnes per hector, with minimal inputs. This action has improved the food security for close to 250,000 people in the region. Icipe’s target is to extend the benefits of ‘Push-pull’ to over one million people by 2020. Moreover, the rising uncertainties in the region’s rain-fed agriculture, due to the continent’s vulnerability to climate change, has created more demand for ‘push-pull’ and its further adaptation to withstand the increasing adverse and changeable conditions. The funding from EU will take us closer to achieving these two goals.”

‘Push-pull’ (www.push-pull.net) , a novel farming system developed by icipe, Rothamsted Research (UK) and national partners in East Africa , simultaneously addresses the major constrains of cereal-based farming system, which include striga weeds, stemborer pests and poor soil fertility. The strategy involves intercropping cereals with a repellent plant such as desmodium, and planting an attractive trap plant, such as napier grass, as a border crop around this intercrop. Stemborers are repelled or deterred away from the target food crop (push) while, at the same time, they are attracted to the trap crop (pull), leaving the food crop protected. I addition, desmodium stimulates the germination of striga seeds and inhibits their growth after it germinates. The technology also provides high quality animal fodder. Furthermore, since both companion plant species are perennial, ‘Push-pull’ conserves soil moisture and improves soil health and beneficial biodiversity.

Dr. Peter Sturesson, Councilor for rural development at the EU Delegation to Kenya, noted: “ADOPT fully responds to the five result areas of the Commission’s Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP) Research and technology component, wchich includes: the delivery of pro-poor innovations; development of research programmes responding to beneficiaries’ needs; enhancement of the active role of low-income smallholder farmers; exchange of experience and knowledge through scientific networks; and the generation of synergy and complementarities with other U research programmes.”

“ADOPT will ffocus on crops grown in dry areas, for instance, sorghum and millet, including research on trap and intercrops adapted to conditions associated with climate change. This requires working in partners with national, regional and international organizations, and most importantly with farmers across the region,” added Dr zeyaur Khan, the leader of the ‘Push-pull’ programme.

The event was attended by many different smallholder farmers and gusts from different local and regional networks and organizations as well as honorable delegates from the European Union and many other icipe partners.