Using nature to fight pests

Nature can provide ways for farmers to boost output. This is what drives the Swiss foundation Biovision. (SRF/

This content was published on August 3, 2015 minutes

Biovision operates in five African countries with a goal of spreading information on sustainable and ecological agriculture.

Biovision was founded in 1998 by Swiss entomologist Hans Rudolf Herren. In the 1980’s he had managed to avert a famine in Africa by eradicating the mealybug, a crop pest that threatened cassava plants. Herren discovered a non-chemical solution that involved introducing a wasp that was a natural enemy of the mealybug. 

The Push-Pull method is one of the ecologically-based farming systems Biovision promotes in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. It consists of planting other plants next to a main staple crop like maize. One diverts agricultural pests away from the staple crop and another plant attracts it. This sustainable method proves particularly effective in the production of maize and sorghum, without resorting to chemical pesticides and fertilisers. More than 96,000 farmers are now using this method in East Africa.

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