Researchers have identified the pest that has been causing the drying up of miraa crops in parts of Meru County, and recommended a pesticide to eradicate it.
The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) scientists, through samples, analysed at an entomology laboratory established that the affected crops were infested with scales (aonidiella ssp).
Rahab Magoti, a flower researcher, advised farmers to use insecticides with active ingredient azadirachtin, which is based on neem seed kernel.
“Pesticides based on neem trees are effective in fighting scales.
“They have no adverse effect on human body a few days after spraying miraa,” she said yesterday at Kalro Embu station where she is based.
“Farmers should use a strong jet of water to dislodge the scales from the plant as well as dust.”