Dr Zeyaur Khan, Push-pull, Kenya, 20 January 2016 – part 2
This afternoon after spending the morning at the ICIPE research station in Mbita Point we travelled with some of Dr Khan’s team to Rongo to see a couple of farms that were practising push-pull. The first farm we went to was to see farmer John:
John has been practising push-pull for eight year. There are 600 farmers in the area doing so, and John is now a farmer trainer and has many visitors to his farm. He had already had 120 visitors before we got there on Wednesday. John grows sorghum, maize and rice and has cows and goats.
This field in the background has sorghum growing in it.
In this field he has harvested the maize. He also harvests the top half of the stover which he grinds for livestock. The first field that he tried push-pull in was a field where he could not grow anything in it due to striga. In the second year of push-pull he had doubled his yield. Push-pull has allowed him to reduce the area needed to grow crops on which means less labour to get same amount of grain. The push-pull also means no need for crop rotation.
The trees around the outside of the fields are caliendra which he cuts every year for firewood, leaves for fodder, sells the seeds, great for bees, and they are N fixers
In the next field he was multiplying up the desmodium seed
The push-pull has meant that he went from two to 16 sacks of maize. He sold eight and bought a cow. The cow produced 12l milk per day, and he sold the surplus to pay for his children’s school fees. John has 15 children, all of whom have gone through school and five so far have been through university.
John also grows his own vegetables and has built a reservoir and pump to irrigate the vegetables in a dry time
He now is self sufficient in all but meat. This means his wife does not have to walk all the way to Rongo to buy food and firewood. Quite an incredible change of life in eight years.
The second farm we went to was an orphanage and school which was coordinated by Molly:
Molly calls push-pull her donor as it has allows her to feed the orphans and sell surplus for cash. There are 62 orphans and 500 school children.
They also grow fish which are fed on the fodder from the push-pull
There are one thousand fish in there which they sell for cash. After having a look around the farm Gordon and I were taken around the school to every class to meet the children. We felt a little like celebrities for half an hour
Dickens, our ICIPE guide also enjoyed being teacher and MC. Today was a great day and it was amazing to see how something so cheap and basic as intercropping change change farmers’ and families’ lives. Thanks to all the team at ICIPE.