“Push-pull” agriculture in Kenya links to Nobel discussions

Posted on September 16th, 2010 by

Some news on the international ag production front. As background on the article, stem borer is obviously a kind of pest we are familiar with, but the Striga pest mentioned in the article is a parasitic weed with varied species that use their roots to steal nutrients from corn, sorghum, millet, and cowpeas (aka black-eyed peas). Not native to the US, there have been infestations here. Per the report in this article, there have been some dramatic increases in small holder agricultural production from this “push-pull” combination of repellent and trap crops.

In terms of the upcoming Nobel conference, this article connects to several of the speakers. In connection with Fowler’s work on biodiversity, an implicit lesson from the article is that species preservation for agriculture is not limited to the crops we grow for harvest–other plants are important. The debate over genetically modified organisms and high-input agriculture also is mentioned. Thompson, Agarwal, Lappe, and Nestle, among the Nobel speakers, have all commented on these issues or related themes.

‘Push-pull’ agriculture stems migration into cities


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