Transformative Turnout: Empowering Farmers in Kisii County with Parasitoid Training for Sustainable Agriculture

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In an impressive turnout, passionate farmers from Kisii County, Kenya, gathered as the PlantVillage team, experts from the parasitoid rearing labs, launched a transformative 3-day mission to combat the fall armyworm menace in the region. The objective was clear - to empower farmers with the art of biocontrol and promote sustainable agriculture through innovative, eco-friendly methods. The event also highlighted the power of technology in agriculture, with the introduction of the PlantVillage Nuru app to the farmers, a digital assistant to diagnose crop diseases in the field.

Transformative Turnout: Empowering Farmers in Kisii County with Parasitoid Training for Sustainable Agriculture

Over 1000 farmers, accompanied by government officials representing 8 sub-locations, eagerly embraced this knowledge-sharing initiative. The potential to revolutionize their farms and livelihoods through this innovative approach filled the atmosphere with enthusiasm and anticipation. The training sessions not only showcased the use of parasitoids as a potent fall armyworm management strategy but also provided an opportunity to enroll farmers in the PlantVillage SMS platform and demonstration of the features of the Nuru app.

The dedication and passion of the young scientists from PlantVillage were evident as they visited various areas, including Emesa, Nyakembene, Engeta, Omogwa, Nyabigena, Kenyoro, Getono, Kandorina, and Gesonso. Just in time for the planting season, the farmers were left inspired and equipped to embrace biological control methods with confidence.

Scientists Timothy, Mercy, Brian, and Elizabeth showcasing farmers the effective use of parasitoids for sustainable pest management

The conclusion of the 3-day parasitoids training witnessed enthusiastic engagement from government officials in Gucha South, Kisii County. Their genuine appreciation for this innovative biocontrol method left a lasting impact on both farmers and officials. Inspired by the success of the training, most government officials offered their support and resources, generously inviting the team to set up parasitoid rearing labs within the region.

Senior chief Vencequeze  Wilfred Oroo of Getono location expressed the regions commitment to the cause. He shared, "In my office, I will dedicate a room for PlantVillage to set up a parasitoid rearing lab, and we can possibly employ youths in my location. Together, we will collaboratively work to control the menace of fall armyworm invasion on our maize farms."

Isaac Wangila, ACC of Gucha South, Kisii County, commending PlantVillage for the revolutionary parasitoid innovation. He encourages farmers in the region to adopt this groundbreaking solution for effective pest management.

The success of the training was further demonstrated by the beaming smiles and newfound knowledge among the approximately 1000 farmers who are now equipped to elevate their yields. Their enthusiasm and gratitude speak volumes about the transformative impact of this initiative. This achievement stands as a testament to the fruitful collaboration with Ropment Medical Center during the parasitoids training.

Margaret Nyabuto, a farmer from Nyamarambe location in Kisii County, echoed the sentiment of many farmers, saying, "We are elated by the invaluable training we received from PlantVillage on fall armyworm management. Finally, we have a solution that fills us with hope, and we eagerly await the opportunity to reap improved yields through this innovative approach."

A jubilant group of farmers beaming with smiles, having received comprehensive training on utilizing parasitoids for fall armyworm management

As PlantVillage continues its knowledge and community empowerment program, they aim to sensitize farmers about the benefits of utilizing natural enemies to combat pests. Additionally, they have ambitious plans to empower more youths and women as 'parasitoid agents' who will deliver parasitoids to farmers as needed.

“The goal is to establish more 'parasitoid rearing labs' across the country, making sustainable agriculture accessible to a larger audience.” Frankline Areba, lead parasitoid project , Kenya.

Special thanks were extended to USAID's Feed the Future Current and Emerging Threats to Crops Innovation Lab for their invaluable support, which played a pivotal role in making this transformative initiative a success.

Brian Otieno and Brian Nakitare, dedicated scientists, conducting a hands-on experiment with farmers on the effective use of parasitoids in pest management on a local farm

With the collaborative effort of farmers, government officials, and the PlantVillage team, Kisii County is poised to witness remarkable progress in sustainable agriculture and greater resilience against the fall armyworm menace.


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