The OPTIONs project aimed to increase the use of pesticidal plants among the wider farming community of Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Zimbabwe through technical innovation, outreach work and the establishment of information networks for all stakeholders participating in the project. Any individual farmer or community group in those countries was invited to participate in OPTIONs. If you wish to know more about OPTIONs this can be most readily done by browsing the OPTIONs website at www.projects.nri.org/options, or by directly contacting SGG. See the Contact us section.
SGG's particular role in OPTIONs was outreach work in Kenya. This involved making contact with community groups, organisation of local training sessions and monitoring of progress concerning the growing & use of pesticidal plants.
Here are a few activities undertaken by SGG within the OPTIONs project:
conducting a baseline survey with members of COSDEP in Kiambu [top left],
members of Abakhaywa Mulukongo collecting seedlings of Tephrosia vogelii from their nursery [top right] to plant in their farms,
local training when farmers were introduced to pesticidal plants [bottom left],
monitoring progress of Tephrosia vogelii interplanted among maize [bottom right].
From 2014-2017 OPTIONS was by far the largest project with SGG involvement. It was an EU funded international project which included some major institutions [e.g. Natural Resources Institute, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and the World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi] among the eight partners responsible for project implementation. Those institutions were all involved with scientific research on pesticidal plants, while the role of SGG was one of dissemination of that scientific knowledge through outreach work to the wider farming communities of partner countries.
Some of the pesticidal plants we wish to promote are as follows.
There are more than 10 species of pesticidal plant which OPTIONS wish to promote. Some of these species [e.g. Securidaca longipedunculata] are now quite rare, so it will be several years before they are widely used. In order to encourage farmers to start using natural pesticides, some of the recommended species are common weeds [e.g. Solanum incanum, known as 'Sodom apple']. Others have dual usage e.g. Tephrosia vogelii is both a soil improver & a pesticide. Tithonia diversifolia is a common weed, an excellent mulch as well as a pesticide. Azadirachta indica has many medicinal uses. It is also the pesticidal tree with good potential for commercial development. The OPTIONs project formally closed in 2017, but SGG can offer advice to anyone interested in using natural plant pesticides.