Joel has been a farmer for as long as he can remember. But he had never harvested as much sorghum as he did during the last season and he feels that he would like to share his success with more people.
A farmer in Kanyada, Lieta village, Katuma Sub location in Homa Bay district and also a member of the ICT committee at the Kabunde Chief’s Camp community resource centre, Joel has also undergone training as a community communicator and is involved in bringing information closer to other community members. He is very grateful of the fact that the resource center has become a useful place where information on a many topics including farming methods is exchanged. It is for this reason that Joel decided to have his farming success story published in the Informer newsletter, a community newsletter produced by the AfriAfya knowledge management unit on behalf of community resource centers. It has a wide circulation in Kabunde.
When Joel was asked to explain his success, he had this to say: “I was among some farmers who were selected to undergo some training on a farming method called the “Push-Pull” strategy”.
Joel says that he sub-divided his farm into two, where on one side he practiced the ‘push-pull’ strategy, while on the other he did not. He wanted to see the difference between the yields from the two sides. He says that he was surprised but at the same time happy to see that the strategy worked very well. He was able to harvest a lot more from the side of the farm where he had practiced the ‘push-pull strategy.
The “Push-Pull” strategy was developed by the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE). AfriAfya has facilitated access to this information by linking the knowledge transfer unit of ICIPE to the community resource centres. This is a cropping method that is used to control both stem borer and Striga weed. The Striga weed which is commonly known as kayongo in the local language and the stem borer, which is a pest destroy maize and other grain crops such as sorghum and reduce the harvest for the farmer. Farmers are trained on how to use Napier grass and desmodium legume for the management of the weed and pest in their fields. Desmodium is planted in between the rows of maize while the Napier grass is planted around the maize crop.
However for this method to succeed, a farmer needs to undergo some training in order to understand all the steps involved. Joel is very happy to pass on his knowledge to as many farmers as possible. “Our people are hungry everyday because of poor crop yields and I would like to change this. I am ready and willing to assist as many farmers as I can to grow healthy maize and sorghum”, he says.
AfriAfya has been re-printing and distributing brochures on this method to all the resource centers to support in transferring knowledge of the technique to farmers.