Cropping Systems 2

Push & Pull: effectively combat pests

Sorghum and corn are important sources of nutrition and fodder in many parts of the world. One place is Kenya, where scientists and farmers together developed the push and pull system. There, the stemborer is a feared pest. It is related to the European corn borer and causes a substantial loss of income.


Here you see a mixed cultivation of plants with repellent (push) and attractive (pull) properties. These help prevent stemborer infestation. Organic agriculture uses such methods to solve problems without pesticides.


The nitrogen-fixing legume Desmodium velutinum grows between the grains within the beds. It repels the stemborer (push), suppresses the weed striga, provides neighboring plants with nitrogen and protects the soil from erosion.

Elephant or Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) grows on the outer edge of the planting. This grass attracts the stemborer (pull), which lays its eggs there. The leaves along with the eggs are cut, fed to animals and therefore eliminated.

The main crop of Sorghum or corn is protected through the combined effects of the grass and legume.