Push pull technology now saving Nakuru farmers from maize stalk borers

As a way of increasing productivity and addressing effects of maize stalk borers, the push pull technology is now being used in semi arid area of Kiambogo in Gilgil Sub County.
The technology being implemented by International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology ICIPE and the Kenya agricultural livestock and research organization-KALRO among other partners is involving 40 farmers from Nakuru county and 20 farmers from Kericho county.
Farmers in Kiambogo division are already reaping the benefits of the program among them increased production compared to previous years.
This even as Prof. Tedele Tefera- the project co-coordinator for East Africa stating that intercropping of maize , nappier grass and desmodium legume works well to alleviate maize stalk borers from farms.
The concept behind the programme revolves around planting desmodium between maize with a few lines of nappier grass adjacent to the two crops.
“Desmodium is known to produce a chemical whose smell is unpleasant to the borers and when they pests find rest on nappier grass, it produces a stick liquid that is poisonous to the pests thus resulting to death” he said.
He adds that the programme has been adopted in Tanzania and Ethiopia and once fully embraced in Kenya, it will greatly improve food security.
According to the officer, the pests cause about 15% yield loss which translates to 85 bags harvest out of a possible 100 bags.
Sentiments echoed by Paul Nduati – a resident of Kiambogo and a beneficiary of the project who adds that desmodium plant has an extra advantage as it doubles as animal feed and a conservator of soil moisture.
Most farmers have registered increased milk production from cattle that have been fed on desmodium mixed with other fodder crops like maize stalks and nappier grass.
“The crop also fixes nitrogen in the soil thus improving soil fertility” he said.
Phillip Chacha said that for a small piece of land that previously produced one bag of maize, it is now possible to harvest two bags from the same piece of land.
Patrick Kigo- a technical office r from ICIPE headquarters while on a farmers’ field day in Kiambogo said that more research is being done to find out if the same technology can be used to alleviate army worms that have recently been a menace in most parts of the country.
The projects are being rolled out in Bomet, Kipkelion and Naivasha in order to reach out to as many farmers as possible.
PHOTO/Simon Ngure:Farmers during a field day in Kiambogo.

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