Counties

Fight on locusts shifts to counties

locusts

Kenya was the hardest hit with the locust invasion compared with her East African counterparts. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Peter Munya has indicated that the ministry intends to set up steering committees in the counties which will spearhead the fight the pest.
  • He said the government had set up bases to coordinate different counties but has now resorted to have each county to have its own team.
  • The swarms have already been spotted in Samburu and Isiolo among other frontier counties.

The second wave of desert locusts will now be fought from the counties as the government seeks to form teams in the devolved units.

Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Peter Munya has indicated that the ministry intends to set up steering committees in the counties which will spearhead the fight the pest.

Speaking in Naivasha, the CS announced that the country is now facing the second invasion of the desert locust which arrived earlier than had been projected.

Announcing the government's preparedness to deal with the pest, the CS noted the successful control of the locust will depend on the effective coordination and cooperation between the national and county government together with the community.

Mr Munya said the steering committee will bring together stakeholders in the fight and will be chaired by the county governors.

“For better response we need each county to have its own steering committee bringing in the stakeholders and chaired by the governor,” Mr Munya said.

“These committees will be responsible for mobilising the community and the people to respond to the many issues arising from the pest control.”

The CS made a reference to the lessons from the fight against the second wave which he said was successful due to the coordination of the partners.

He said the government had set up bases to coordinate different counties but has now resorted to have each county to have its own team.

The second invasion of the desert locust has been reported in different parts of the country, causing panic among farmers who fear losing crops.

The swarms have already been spotted in Samburu and Isiolo among other frontier counties.

Governor Munya noted that the second wave is coming from the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and Somalia where the spread had not been contained.

The swarms had been projected to invade the country in mid December but due to the change in weather they have already arrived.

Experts say the swarms were blown by the northerly winds from Ethiopia and Somalia landing into the frontier counties of Wajir, Madera, Isiolo, Garissa Tana River and Taita Taveta.

The government is confident the measures put in place towards fighting the swarms will yield successful results.

Mr Munya said the government has set a budget of Sh3.2 billion towards fighting the swarms. The measures according to the CS include conducting ground and aerial surveys on the regions likely to be affected, getting ready with pesticides, training of the operation teams and creating awareness among communities.