First Push-Pull fields now in Malawi

Last year, Biovision in cooperation with icipe started work on spreading Push‑Pull to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The first signs of success are now evident, e.g. on the farm of Agnes Michael in the village of Ukwe in Malawi.

Agnes Michael

The most important field crop for farmers is maize, both for personal consumption and for sale. However, Agnes Michael frequently has to contend with both stemborer moths and the weed Striga. She was impressed, therefore, when she heard about the Push-Pull method as it is an effective way to deal with her problems. Supported by our local partner Total Land Care, Mrs Michael planted a Push-Pull field on her land. Similar Push-Pull fields planted by fellow farmers are also thriving.

Push-Pull fields are not restricted to the farms of participants in the project but can also be found on the trial fields of government partners; the aim here is to raise awareness amongst influential policymakers and so further support its spread. In cooperation with icipe, Total Land Care is ensuring adequate supplies of the desmodium and Brachiaria grass seeds that are crucial to the Push-Pull method.

Empirical date from the Biovision Farmer Communication Programme is being used to make farmers aware of the Push-Pull method. For example, it has designed radio programmes for broadcast in both Zambia and Malawi. In addition, it plans to produce what are known as “farmer-to-farmer” videos with input from experts. They will be complemented by farm open days and the work of farming advisers who will introduce additional farmers to the benefits of the Push-Pull method.

From September, it is planned to extend Push-Pull to Ruanda and the search for suitable project partners is already under way. Biovision would welcome the opportunity to provide advice to those interested in launching further Push-Pull initiatives in Africa. Contact: push-pullbiovisionch