Maize farmers in Kericho are now turning to washing powder in a desperate move to kill the dreaded armyworms, which have re-infested maize farms in five sub-counties.
This is despite lack of research to establish whether the chemicals in the detergents could have negative effects on the grain produce to be consumed in later stages.
Mr Samuel Sigei, a farmer at Kipsitet, Soin Sigowet sub-county said that having used four different pesticides without success, he was advised to dilute Ariel powder soap and spray it to the plants.
“I am seeing it working. The attack is minimal on my side compared to the neighbouring farms,” he noted.
He mixes 25 grams of the detergent in 20 litres of water and sprays it on a one acre farm.
“I have done my own experiment to prove the effectiveness of the soap powder compared to locally available pesticides. I took a pinch of it, diluted it in some water and dropped the worms in for about seven seconds. Once you remove the pests, they die within seconds,” he said.
He said he tried the same experiment with three brands of pesticides and they still managed to crawl away.
A total of between 100 to 150 hectares have been affected in the sub counties of Bureti, Belgut, Ainamoi, Soin-Sigowet and parts of Kipkelion West.