The Push-Pull technology was developed in Africa by icipe scientists and partners for smallholder farmers to offer effective control of cereal stemborers and Striga weed in cereal cropping systems, mainly maize, sorghum, millet and rice. The evaluation and economic performance of this technology in maize cropping systems compared with the conventional maize mono, maize-bean and maize-soybean, Crotalaria rotations, and imidazolinone-resistant (IR) maize seed inter-cropping systems in western Kenya show that maize yields and associated gross margins from the Push-Pull system are significantly higher than those in the other systems. According to the study, on-station evaluation on the effects of integrating beans in the maize–desmodium intercrops using three treatments; maize monocrop, maize–bean intercrop and three maize–desmodium intercrops, two of which were integrated with beans, either in the same holes with maize or in between maize plants in a row. The findings showed that, the integration of beans increases labour and total variable costs, with these being higher in plots with both crops in different holes than in the same hole. Total revenue, gross beneﬁts and beneﬁt cost ratios do not differ between the bean integration and maize–desmodium intercrops. Integration of beans in the Push–Pull technology while guaranteeing an additional crop, a protein source, to the farmers does not compromise the observed beneﬁts of the technology but yields same economic beneﬁts. Where labour is easily available, farmers are advised to plant maize and beans in separate holes to avoid the risk of competition for moisture and nutrients where these might be limiting.
The project has undertaken other studies on the effectiveness and economic relevance of information dissemination pathways for learning and adoption of Push-Pull technology. Findings have shown that, Field Days are relatively cheap mechanisms of training farmers and mostly preferred by the farmers. Farmer Teachers and Farmer Field Schools on the other hand are relatively expensive in the initial stages but have the distinct benefits such as knowledge retention and constant interaction. From these findings, the project is using these pathways at different stages of the dissemination of Push-Pull technology. Field Days are used in the initial stages of dissemination in order to speed up the adoption process, while Farmer Field Schools and Farmer Teachers are used to reinforce the messages at later stages. Mass media sources such as radio and print materials are used for awareness creation to reach many farmers who don’t manage to attend field days.
Khan et al., 2008a; De Groote et al., 2010a; De Groote et al., 2010b; Khan et al., 2009; Amudavi et al, 2009a; Amudavi et al.2009b; Murage et al., 2011