Kenya: ‘Push-Pull’ Pest Control to Reach More Farmers

The “push-pull” pest control technique has been used in East Africa to protect crops from insect pests that destroy crops such as maize. Since 1997, this low-cost, environmentally friendly technology has helped nearly 40,000 farmers in East Africa.


According to the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, “[m]aize yields have increased by up to 3.5 tonnes per hectare, bringing 300,000 people out of hunger and poverty.” For example, by planting maize between a repellant crop such as desmodium and Napier grass, which attracts and captures the maize stem borer, crops can be saved from destruction and food production increases. Thus, “push-pull” pest control can help to overcome the hunger and poverty issues prevalent in the area.


While proponents note marked improvement in food production because of the use of the technique, opponents point out that certain push-pull plants are not compatible with the dry conditions in the region and believe that claims of success are overstated. To answer this criticism, research is developing push-pull plants that are drought and temperature resistant. The recently launched Adaptation and Dissemination of Push–Pull Technology (ADOPT) initiative, “will benefit a further 50,000 farmers living in dry areas vulnerable to climate change in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. ADOPT has received €2.9 million (US$4.2 million) from the European Union.”  Click here to read article on Science Development Network.

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