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
|00:01||[Music]||Send a Cow and Riverford logos. 'In partnership' text.|
|00:05||[Music]||Point of view: walking down a maize path 'Push-pull technology: an innovative crop pest solution' text.|
|00:10||Send a Cow supports farmers in sub-saharan africa to grow themselves out of poverty||Camera spans onto couple under banana trees harvesting their crop|
|00:15||by giving communities the hope and the means to secure their own futures from the land||Couple are walking hand-in-hand with their harvest|
|00:20||Our approach empowers families with the confidence skills and self-belief to grow sufficient food and generate income||Photo of a smiling woman in bright clothing counting through savings|
|00:27||while regenerating the natural environment protecting ecosystems and enhancing biodiversity.||Photo of cooperative sat together and a couple stood beside a keyhole garden|
|00:33||As farm systems coordinator I work with our in-country teams to find and design innovative and cost-effective solutions to the challenges smallholder farmers face such as falling crop yields soil degradation and pests||Shelia Halder, Send a Cow Farm System Coordinator talking|
|00:48||Smallholder farmers are often wholly dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods; growing a variety of staple crops including maize||Woman walking through fields and harvesting crops such as maize|
|00:57||Maize is one of the major crops grown in the world and in africa alone the lives of 300 million people depend on it||Shelia Halder, Send a Cow Farm System Coordinator talking|
|01:07||However erratic weather patterns combined with parasitic weeds such as Striga weed||Purple Striga weed plants growing in abundance|
|01:12||and destructive insects like stembora moths||Hands investigate stembora moth larvae on a maize crop|
|01:13||can completely decimate maze crops resulting in widespread hunger and poverty||Ariel shot of a maize field|
|01:19||The common response to these pests would be chemical pesticides but these are often devastating for ecosystems and water supplies||Shelia Halder, Send a Cow Farm System Coordinator talking|
|01:27||Smallholder farmers are often in a very difficult position, their families are severely malnourished but they don't have the means to protect their crops from pests||A couple tend to their crops|
|01:37||[Narrator] Send a Cow have teamed up with ICIPE to implement push-pull, an affordable nature-based solution to falling maize yield. The following explanation shows how it works||Ariel shot over fields of green crops|
|01:48||To properly understand the need for push-pull we must first look at two pests; the stemborer moth and Striga weed||Animation shows Stemborer moth and Striga weed side by side|
|01:56||First the stembora moth, they lay their larvae on maize stems and leaves and when they hatch the larvae literally bore through the stems and leaves hence their name.||Zooms in on Stemborer moth laying eggs on the maize plants. The larvae begin to eat the leaves|
|02:06||Secondly Striga weed is a parasitic weed, its roots latch onto the maize and drain it of nutrients||Striga plant roots attach themselves to the maize plant roots|
|02:14||Together stryga and the stembora can wipe out an entire crop||Hover above the maize field animation|
|02:18||Push-pull technology is an integrated pest management system which can mitigate both pests.||"Push pull technology" text on screen|
|02:25||Farmers start by intercropping maize with desmodium and because the maize is planted at normal spacing there's no sacrifice of planting area by adding it||Animation shows desmodium plants growing inbetween rows of maize|
|02:33||Desmodium is a legume plant that produces airborne chemicals that repel the stembora moths or push them away from the maize||Animation shows smell rising from desmodium plants and the moth flying away|
|02:41||Desmodium also induce suicidal germination of the strigaweed, clearing the soil of the parasitic weed||Animation shows the strigaweed roots dying off|
|02:49||Being a legume, desmodium also fixes nitrogen in the soil, increasing nutrients and reducing soil degradation||Animation shows sparkling soil around the desmodium roots|
|02:56||On the border of their maize plot farmers plant brachiaria or napier grass a great animal feed.||Animation shows plants growing around the maize field|
|03:02||These grasses attract or pull the moths away from the maize.||Zoom into the naiper grass|
|03:06||The moths lay their larvae on the grass but they are unable to survive on the leaves thus reducing the number of stembora moths.||Moth larvae on the grass begins to drop off|
|03:14||By implementing push-pull technology,||Pans over animated maize field.|
|03:16||farmers see increased maze yields for human consumption as well as increased yields of livestock feed which they can use on their own farm or sell to neighbours or at the local market||Stembora moths fly away from the maiz to the naiper grass and the desmodum plants thrive. ICIPE logo in the top right hand corner|
|03:29||Push Pull in action' text|
|03:34||John lives in Petauke, Zambia with his wife and children||John lives in Petauke, Zambia with his wife and children' text and photo of Joh with family of 6|
|03:39||He began practicing push pull in 2018 and his maize harvests have greatly improved.||He began practicing push pull in 2018 and his maize harvests have greatly improved.' text with photo of John in his field.|
|03:44||He says 'Push pull has helped me and my family to have a steady source of income with good yields from our maize now it's free from the stembora.'||Push pull has helped me and my family to have a steady source of income with good yields from our maize now it's free from the stembora.' text with same image|
|03:52||The soil has improved and i've started feeding my goats with desmodium.||The soil has improved and i've started feeding my goats with desmodium.' Text|
|03:54||I want to thank Send a Cow for bringing this kind of technology to us I had never heard of it before'||I want to thank Send a Cow for bringing this kind of technology to us I had never heard of it before' Text with image of John and his family.|
|04:00||John plans to use his increased income to send his small children to school and reinvest in his farm.||John plans to use his increased income to send his small children to school and reinvest in his farm. Text with same image.|
|04:07||Music||In partnership with Riverford. Text|