The ongoing locust invasion poses a threat to the country’s food security with the expected damage in main production areas raising fear of maize shortage this year.
Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said there was a high likelihood for these insects, which have invaded the country since December, to damage the young maize crop in the field.
This comes at a time when the actual damage caused by the insects during the last crop season is yet to be determined. Red Cross has been subcontracted by Food and Agriculture Organisation to assess the loss in different parts of the country.
Prof Boga said the insects previously mainly affected vegetation with little damage on the food crops given that rains experienced in the country since last year created a lot of forage for them to feed on.
“The damage has so far not been significant on the food crop. However, with the planting of this season’s maize crop, the locust may cause a big challenge if they will still be around when the crop starts sprouting,” said Prof Boga.
A few farmers have planted in the North Rift even as the exercise was interrupted by Covid-19 that has resulted in shortage of farming inputs.
The ministry announced last week it was in the process of completing the sourcing of 100,000 litres of pesticide to fight the locust menace even as the new generation of insects was expected to hit the country soon.
So far the government has so far deployed nine aircraft, one for surveillance and eight for aerial spraying. In addition, a total of about 38,595 litres of pesticides have been distributed.