UPSCALE MAC Meeting in Kenya, May 2021

During 3rd and 4th of May 2021, a Multi-Actor Communities (MAC) meeting was held in Kisumu, Kenya. Organized by icipe and Maseno University, the chosen site was central to the MAC activities, being in the proximity of the push-pull field and in order to gather various stakeholders from farmers who have already implemented the push-pull technology to those wishing to do so, from researchers to local policymakers.

The main objective of the meeting was the formation of the MAC management team in Kenya, establishing the terms of reference and a schedule of activities for the upcoming season. The MAC meetings on this level enable the networking of different stakeholders/actors, exchange of experiences and they enhance the scale up process of push-pull technology along the value chain.

Mr. Metho, a push-pull farmer came to know of push-pull technology from a farmers’ field days he attended in 2010. At the time, the practice was to give out the brochures explaining how to plant a push-pull field. Following the indicated steps he planted his first push-pull plot. As a result, aside from the significant improvement in maize yields, he was able to sell fodder to neighboring farmers improving his source of income. Throughout the years, Mr. Metho continued attending farmers’ meetings in order to kept up to date where he learned of improved generations on push-pull technology and how to deal with emerging pests like fall armyworm. Therefore, even after all this time, Mr. metho attends the meetings, now under the scope of UPSCALE project, in order to always know more about the developing technology.
Allan MethoPush-Pull farmer
Paskalia started a self-help group in 2007 with 12 members seeking for the ways of achieving food security through sustainable agricultural practices. She visited icipe Mbita campus where they were trained as group on establishing of a push-pull farm and making hay from fodder. She has been prompting others and registered a community based organisation(CBO) called Sigomre Agriculture Programme operating from Siaya county. The members of CBO have been making hay with mulato II grass which they’ve been selling to neighboring counties using various mobile platforms like WhatsApp.  This has offered them an alternate source of income and uplifted their livelihoods.

Prior to attending this meeting, Paskalia wanted to know how she could access funds for farm expansion, finding information on acquiring better seeds and livestock management. At the end of the meeting, she appreciated hearing practical presentation and suggestions from the participants representing various value chains. She aims to stay informed on the news innovations which UPSCALE seeks to achieve in helping farmers. Moreover, due to the disparity in the number of active male and female farmers, Paskalia is a unique leader and changemaker in her own community, providing both an example and a valuable advisor to other women wishing to implement push-pull technology and become farmers.

Paskalia Juma ShikukuPush-Pull farmer from Sigomre, Siaya county
Mr. Sana developed interest after attending a farmers’ field day. Through exposure he’s gained from adopting push-pull on his farm, he has received heifers and dairy goats from farmer exchange programs. With the upscaling of push-pull technology, Mr. Sana sees the benefits in improving his cereal crop yields, both for domestic consumption and sales, as well feeding his poultry, goats and dairy cows.  He sees an opportunity through UPSCALE to learn new farming methods, networking with other farmers and understanding more on importance of ICT in farming practice.

Mr. Samwel SanaPush-Pull farmer from Homabay county

What are the next steps?

It is through these tree stories, where the true power of push-pull technology is showcased. By including the communities and stakeholders along the whole value chain, Its potential goes beyond short terms benefits and has the potential to reshape the lives of many communities, improving their social and economic status. Jimmy Pittchar, speaking on behalf of icipe, lauded the synergy and participation of a broad range of stakeholders ranging from farmers, input supply chain actors, NGOs supporting various agricultural value chains, government and higher learning institutions.

In conclusion, the meeting brought about interesting perspectives of how different actors could add value to the UPSCALE project outcomes and impacts. The meeting raised expectations of a concerted, inclusive process leading to greater understanding, mutual reinforcement and sustainable expansion of the push-pull technology across different scales as well as different cropping systems.

When it comes to the future steps, the newly formed MAC management team will continue to meet in order to decide on an exact programme of future activities including holding of smaller workshops and events to facilitate the implementation of the project.

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