State hires expert to assess damage caused by locusts

By Christine Musa
Monday, February 17th, 2020
Agriculture CS Peter Munya (right) inspects a Mathenge tree that has been devoured by locusts in Fafi sub-county on Saturday. Photo/KNA
In summary
    • The locust invasion is the worst infestation in Kenya for 70 years and the worst in Somalia and Ethiopia for 25 years.
    • Aerial spraying of pesticides is the most effective way of fighting the swarms but countries in the region do not have the right resources.

Christine Musa and KNA 

The government has hired a consultant to assess the damage caused by the destructive desert locusts since the invasion began three months ago.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, who witnessed first-hand hatchling of wingless locust nymphs perched on crops and trees during a visit to Kamuthe area in Fafi sub-county in Garissa on Saturday said yesterday the consultant and the team of experts will soon move to the affected counties to assess the damage and prescribe the way forward. 

“We have appointed a consultant who will be doing co-ordination with officials on the ground.

We are seeking to know how many farmers have been affected, the amount of food destroyed for each farmer, so that we look for resources to help them overcome this devastating challenge,” he said.

Munya reiterated the government’s commitment to fighting the invasion, saying there are enough chemicals and equipment, so there is no cause for alarm. 

Munya said the national government would avail a plane, three motorised sprayers and 50 specialised sprayers and 100 hand-held sprayers to be positioned at the Garissa Locust Response Base to protect the 400-kilometre stretch of irrigation farms on the banks of River Tana in Garissa county.

 He said the government works closely with other organisations in the fight against the spread of the desert locusts.

 Munya confirmed that 1,200 litres of pesticides had already been delivered to the county as part of efforts to contain the situation.

  The Minister hinted at compensation for farmers who have incurred untold loses occasioned by the pests, adding that government teams were already on the ground to conduct an assessment that would work out modalities on payments later.

 Meanwhile, crop protection officers who have been assessing locust invasion in Kajiado county have confirmed that the insects are mature and have laid thousands of eggs. 

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