Economy

State outlines more measures to fight locust invasion

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Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The State is sourcing 100,000 litres of pesticide and plans are already in place to add 20 more aircraft to be used in aerial spraying.
  • Agriculture CS Peter Munya said 10 of the aircraft will be used for spraying with the remaining 10 to be deployed for surveillance.

The Government has put up additional measures to enhance locust control as a new generation of the insects emerge from eggs that had been laid in the first wave of invasion.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said they are sourcing 100,000 litres of pesticide and plans are already in place to add 20 more aircraft to be used in aerial spraying.

Mr Munya said 10 of the aircraft will be used for spraying with the remaining 10 to be deployed for surveillance.

“While the control operation has proceeded well, some locusts matured and laid eggs that have hatched into hoppers, some developing to first generation immature swarms,” said Mr Munya (right).

“There is therefore need to enhance the control operations as we focus on the new generation of locusts in the country.”

He said sourcing of the pesticide has been a challenge due to the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on logistics, which has seen most flights cancelled worldwide.

The CS said for effective coordination, six control bases have been set up in all affected regions of Wajir, Isiolo, Marsabit, Masinga, Garissa and Lodwar to try and mitigate the effects of the locusts.

He said plans are also under way to acquire and deploy 20 vehicles equipped with suitable sprayers for ground control of the hatching hoppers. So far the government has deployed nine aircraft out of which one is for surveillance and eight are for aerial spraying.

In addition, about 38,595 litres of control pesticides have been distributed to the base command centres and the counties.

About 500 National Youth Servicemen have been trained and deployed in the control bases for ground operations.

The locust menace, which was first reported in Kenya in December, has so far spread and affected over 20 counties.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has already warned that the insects are expected to cause severe damage to the crops.