Smallholder farmers can now access bio-pesticide products that are expected to drastically reduce toxins in food products, and increase production.
This follows the launch of the bio-pesticides by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) and a number of partners.
“Our main target is the smallholder farmer, who produces most of the food eaten globally, but has no structured way of producing it,” said Barnabas Rotich, the Commercial and Operations Manager at Dudutech, which partnered with Kalro while researching on the environment friendly pesticides.
Rotich said the pesticides are affordable and do not have any traces of harmful chemicals.
“The main aim of these products is to reduce chemical residues in farm produce, soil and water bodies. They are products that are less harmful to the operator while spraying, and have effective pest control without worrying about resistance.”
He noted that scientists must be flexible, innovative and imaginative to tackle issues affecting farmers especially in the era of climate change.
CONTROL SOIL-BORNE DISEASES
Two of the products released are soil-based pest management bio-pesticides, while the other two are for control of sucking pests.
All the pesticides are packed in 20g sachets that can treat 1kg of seeds or 11 square metres of land and go for Sh150.
The products will also help in control of soil-borne diseases, and some of the most lethal pests such as the whiteflies, which are instrumental in spreading crop diseases among plants, and from one agricultural zone to another.
The insects are also sap-sucking, thus damages the crops.
Dr Lusike Wasilwa, the Director for Crop Systems at Kalro, noted that increased cancer cases in Kenya has been linked to toxins found in foods.
“If Kenyans knew what they are eating, they might not eat at all,” she said. “We need these pesticides because we do not have enough money to treat cancer and other diseases.”