Promoting nature-based climate smart farming with ecofriendly solutions

Promoting nature-based climate smart farming with ecofriendly solutions

By Bob Koigi

As debate on the proposed ban on some chemicals and pesticides under the EU Green Deal initiative rages on, industry players have been vocal on what this portends for the industry and the future of agriculture. Dudutech, one of Africa’s leading producers of biological pest control products has welcomed the move arguing that it is aimed at protecting nature and reversing the degradation of the environment therefore cushioning the planet and people against future threats that are associated with climate change.

As a country we should take it positively, we need to embrace the initiative that is geared towards sustaining our environment, everyone should be concerned about our environment because this is where we live and this is where our future generations will be. This, we will achieve by accepting the reality which is the fact that overreliance on conventional chemicals has negative effects on the environment, and does more damage to non-target organisms. The industry should be awake to this fact. Rather than running business as usual so that companies can survive, we need to be innovative and embrace other technologies that will help in stopping reliance on these pesticides,” said Catherine Gacheri the Technical Manager-Africa and Middle East at Dudutech.

According to Catherine, erratic weather changes occasioned by climate change has been having a serious effect on pests and diseases dynamics and that a single control method, like biological pest control method would not be ideal. She says that a holistic approach method where there is a combination of a series of pest control options like Integrated Pest Management,
Dudutech investment in Research and Development To deepen uptake of IPM methods Dudutech has heavily invested in research and development in a bid to come up with workable solutions and tangible technologies that can be presented to the market and receive warm reception. “Research and development is crucial in producing breakthrough technologies. We have over the years tried to fill the gap in pest management strategies. For every technology that comes up, we start with research and development before we even tell anyone that this is what we have. Because of this, over the years we have come up with very promising products and solutions that we can confidently go out with to growers and farmers and tell them this product is based on this and this is what it does,” added Catherine.

Betting on milestones

The Dudutech has grown its market share and supplies over 50 different biological control agents comprising of beneficial insects, beneficial funguses and beneficial nematodes with more lined up to hit the market in the near future. The company has now moved from a focus on large scale growers to targeting small scale farmers by equipping them with knowledge to be able to understand the products and use them more.. This, the company has done in conjunction with other partners. “A lot has been done and this is evident in the large number of farmers embracing the use of IPM, and this is evident as we continue to see an ever increasing demand for our products,” Catherine enthuses.

Focus on smallholder farmers

Catherine further notes that soil based products have been recording huge demand from small scale farmers informed by the fact that they had realized that over the years their soils had been degraded due to overreliance on fertilizers and chemicals. In order to rescue and rejuvenate their soils and add some life, they had to go back to nature and introduce products that are friendly while bolstering the soil’s fertility.

Speaking on the space and place of IPM in modern agriculture Catherine says that pest control solutions and climate change are quite interlinked with climate change creating extreme weather challenges, shifting the seasonalities, increasing temperatures that have increased pest numbers and new invasions. She argues that chemical pesticides account for a big percentage of greenhouse gas emissions and these emissions make climate change even worse.

“We have no choice but to embrace alternatives which is not relying on the use of one product but use of IPM that means use of nature with very limited use of pesticides. As you know, IPM is not organic farming, there are aspects of use of approved chemicals that are less harmful to the environment. The idea is to choose more ecofriendly solutions that promote nature-based climate smart farming,” she said.

Catherine further noted: “We expect our government, academia, growers and service industry to walk the talk in coming up with policies that will support this, and offer support in disseminating information to farmers. When we do this, we will see faster adoption while finding lasting solutions to the bottlenecks

Overcoming challenges, eyes on expansion

IPM particularly biological pest control products are considered as pest control products and for one to use them one has to register them, just like chemicals. Catherine notes that the process is usually lengthy The products occur in nature, they are not harmful and are friendly. They are 100%safe. The challenge is that one cannot have a product today and sell it tomorrow. Catherine has called on government authorities to introduce enabling policies that promote implementation of IPM.
Moving forward Dudutech is looking at expanding their operations in other countries as well as increasing their production capacity. The company is also expanding its production facilities and product portfolio in order to serve the market better with top of the range solutions.

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