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08-Jun-2015 18:38

The technology was also proposed as one of the three ways (together with remote sensing and data-driven crop rotations) in which science will solve food crises (a wired Magazine: issue: An impact assessment study by the Swiss Foundation for International Cooperation confirmed that ‘push-pull’ technology is widely accepted and adopted by small-scale farmers because it addresses their major production constraints.

Desmodium also helps to improve soil fertility, retain soil moisture and prevent soil erosion.

The technology is appropriate as it is based on locally available perennial plants, not expensive external inputs, and fits well with traditional mixed cropping systems in Africa.

Following the original dream of ’s founding father Prof. He has led an international team of scientists from in Kenya and Rothamsted Research in the United Kingdom, in collaboration with other national and international partners, in the discovery and implementation of a unique integrated pest management (IPM) strategy using a .

Khan its highest honour, naming him the first Thomas Risley Odhiambo Distinguished Research Fellow in recognition of outstanding achievements in the advancement of agricultural science. Khan, TRO DRF, has dedicated his 30-year career as an entomologist and agricultural scientist to advancing the science and practice of entomology by studying and applying chemical ecology, behaviour, plant–plant and insect–plant interactions to improve agricultural production to combat poverty and food insecurity in Africa. Khan is a wonderful combination of scientific creativity and agricultural innovation that provides practical solutions for real problems of thousands of small-holder poor farmers which in turn promotes their food security and sustainable livelihoods. Khan, TRO DRF, is responsible for the discovery and wide-scale implementation of a pro-poor scientific innovation for enhancing food security and environmental sustainability in Africa.

The ‘push-pull’ technology has been acknowledged by the Royal Society of London as one of the most promising crop management strategies in the next 50 years to mitigate the effects of biotic stresses, and as an integrated pest management strategy that reduces the use of pesticides, neutralises the viability of striga seeds and increases the resilience of the cropping system.

It was hailed as a successful ecosystem-based crop and soil management approach that can be introduced widely and applied to many different cultivars without the need for lengthy breeding cycles for each variety of crops.

The intercrop, , a parasitic weed, from maize fields. Khan extensively researched and discovered new chemical compounds in the desmodium root exudates that stimulate striga seeds to germinate, but inhibit post-germination growth through an allelopathic process, thereby reducing the striga seed bank in the soil.

has been at the forefront of developing “home grown” solutions to local problems afflicting the farming communities in the tropics.To date Push-Pull technology has been adopted by more than 50,000 smallholder farmers in East Africa, who have doubled their incomes and crop yields, providing food security for 400,000 people living in those households. Khan’s goal is to achieve food sufficiency for 10 million people by extending push-pull to more than 1 million households in Africa.‘Push-pull’ is the first IPM strategy that effectively controls both stemborers and striga weeds, while ecologically improving soil fertility.The technology increases maize yields by protecting the crop against attack by the stemborer moths, .

It attracts stemborers to trap plants (the ‘pull’) while driving them away from the main crop using a repellent intercrop (the ‘push’).Preventing losses due to stemborers has the potential to increase maize harvests by enough to feed an additional 27 million people.