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‘Catapult’ wipes out maize crops in Murang’a

By Wangari Njuguna
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

Several farmers in Maragua area in Murang’a county are counting losses after a herbicide wiped out their maize plantations. 

The farmers claim to have bought a selective herbicide named ‘Catapult’ on promises by suppliers that it only kills weeds without affecting maize plants. After application, the chemical destroyed even the maize.  

Green Life Company, which manufactures the herbicide, has exonerated itself from the damage claiming  the chemical was non- selective. 

Technical Sales Assistant Dancun Mutua says the herbicide does not spare even the maize plants. “The farmers could have been misadvised when buying it because our product is non-selective. It should be applied before planting,” he warned. 

Kagwi Waiti, a farmer from lower Kiharu had his one-and-a-half-acre maize plantation wiped out by the chemical. He had instructed his farm hand to get a herbicide as he deemed it easier than normal ploughing.

Yellow leaves 

“I had told him to buy Tinga Tinga brand but he only got one packet and the retailer recommended ‘Catapult’, saying  the chemical was the only available substitute,” he said.

Kagwi had applied the two chemicals on two separate plots of maize.  Two days later,  the maize showed signs of drying up and the leaves turned yellow.   “The plot where we applied Tinga Tinga was not affected but Catapult had wiped out maize plants on the other plot,” he said.

After complaining to the stockist, he  was given foliar fertiliser to reverse the effect, but it didn’t work.

Kimani Njane, a farmer from Maragua Ridge, has also lost his maize plants. Coincidentally, Njane and Kagwi had bought the herbicide from the same shop.

He had planned to spray it on a one-acre plot. “It was on a Saturday and when I ran out of time, I decided to spray the remaining plot the following week. By Monday, the maize had withered,” he said.

Murang’a South Agricultural Officer John Waihenya has asked farmers  to submit  samples of the chemical for laboratory analysis. 

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