The Push-Pull method
Push-Pull works on several levels at the same time: The intercrop plant desmodium and broder crop plant napier grass drive out pests and attract beneficial insects, which can increase the crop yield many times over. Because the farmer families generate more yield on less land, there is more area available for further cultivation. This leads to more financial security, more variety in food and is also healthy for the soil. In addition, the accompanying plants provide nutrient-rich fodder that can be fed to their own livestock or sold.
“We’re doing very well nowadays”
Tesfaye Ejeta saw no future in his homeland in the highlands of Ethiopia. He therefore followed a state appeal and moved to the lowlands of the Tolay region. There he established a life as a corn farmer. However, he had to struggle with pests that destroyed large parts of his harvest. The small farmer lived with his wife Layla in poverty and constant insecurity.
Then employees of the insect research institute icipe, a local partner organisation of Biovision, came to the village. Tesfaye Ejeta, together with around 200 other smallholders, got to know the Push-Pull cultivation method for maize and millet. This method relies on providing two plants that work together: one repels the pests, and the other attracts beneficial insects, ensures that the Striga weed cannot grow and supplies the soil with nitrogen. Fewer costs, higher yields Success came immediately. Tesfaye Ejeta was able to drastically reduce his harvest losses while doing without expensive fertiliser. Thanks to the accompanying plants, which can also be harvested and provide excellent fodder, he was even able to increase his livestock – to an impressive four oxen, three cows (one of which is pregnant), two calves, six goats and a sheep. He says, “We’re doing very well nowadays.” This is not the end of the story. Now, Tesfaye Ejeta wants to introduce his five neighbours to the Push-Pull method and enable them to create a sound footing for their existence.
Knowledge creates food - Push Pull works
Development is based on knowledge. Traditionally, rural knowledge is passed on from parents to their children. This, however, falls short of solving today’s challenges: new pests, increasing scarcity of land and the increasingly devastating consequences of climate change call for new solutions.
In sub-Saharan Africa, over 80 percent of the population depend on agriculture. Improving African living conditions must therefore start with small farmers. Biovision promotes the development and dissemination of holistic solutions. In this way, we help people free themselves from hunger and poverty based on their own efforts.
Every donation counts!
The aim of this Biovision campaign is to collect a total of 700 000 Swiss Francs for projects to improve the quality of life of farming families in East Africa. Together we can achieve a great deal. Each and every donation counts!