Maize is a major staple food in East Africa region with the potential to solve the region’s food security and nutrition challenges. The crop is however faced with several biotic and abiotic stressors that resulting to pre and post-harvest losses. Striga weed is a critical biotic stressor that associated with poor soil fertility that leads to stunted growth, phytotoxicity, and reduced grain yields. Several solutions have been proffered. However, Push-Pull technology (PPT) stands out to be agro-ecologically beneficial for smallholder farmers.
UPSCALE, is a Horizon 2020 project whose aim is to promote widespread adoption of Push-Pull technology through the trans-disciplinary engagement of multi-actors’ communities of practice. This will ensure all relevant stakeholders are on board, ultimately enabling smallholder farmers to realize its associated benefits. This paper aims at reviewing existing scholarly literature, evaluating information from multi-actor communities (MACs) of practice constituted under the UPSCALE project, and the authors’ experiences over time.
To promote widespread adoption of PPT, it was established that MACs involvement in the maize value chain has achieved mapping and tracing of PPT maize produce and certify and Eco-labeling the produce to distinguish it from the rest. MAC involvement would also collaboratively price the produce at a premium to offer incentives towards realizing a transformative potential of PPT among farmers. However, this requires lobbying governments to ease the transfer of desmodium seeds within the region, waive duty, and sign common protocols on desmodium Quality Declared Seed (QDS) systems. The potential spinoffs identified include women and youth involvement as desmodium community seed merchants and seedling nurseries; SMEs trading in differentiated PPT maize in the region; and farmers trading carbon credits with widespread adoption. It is therefore recommended that PPT maize can be differentiated and promoted when stakeholders begin to reflect on its potential in the region. This will enable stakeholders to find adaptive and alternative PPT adoption pathways.
Authors: Esther Ng’ong’a, Dennis Mulupi, Fredrick Aila, Benjamin Ombok & George Odhiambo
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Institution: Maseno University, Kenya; www.maseno.ac.ke
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