Send a Cow | A farm in Kenya

Push Pull Technology

On BBC Radio 4's Today show, they discussed the growing fear of fall armyworms spreading to Europe, and how Push Pull Technology can be used to control numbers.

Fall armyworms eat over 180 food crops, with their favourite being maize. In Ghana and Zambia* they have been known to cause a 20-50% loss of crops for farmers.

In Kenya, Stemborer moths and the parasitic striga weed are two other major threats to cereal crops. We are trialling Push Pull Technology with our farmers to try and combat them.

Farmers intercrop their maize with desmodium and plant napier grass around the plot. The moths are repelled by desmodium and are attracted to the napier grass, which is naturally sticky and traps the pests. The desmodium roots stop the striga weeds attaching to the cereals, causing them to die off.

It’s simple, cheap, natural and effective, and means farmers no longer have to buy expensive pesticides. Not only this, both desmodium and napier grass are quality fodder for livestock.

All farmers practising this technology have had harvests increased by 80%*. This makes farmers food secure, leading to better futures.

*As discussed on BBC Radio 4's Today show

* Our impact: Kenya