Farmers’ fears as desert locusts now invade Kajiado

Monday, February 10th, 2020 00:00 |
Kajiado county Agriculture and Livestock chief officer Moses Murunya and Executive Jackline Koin display a locust found in the county. Photo/PD/CHRISTINE MUSA

Farmers in Kajiado county have expressed fears of losing pasture, following an invasion by swarms of desert locusts.

“We have had a lot of rainfall in the recent past and we have enough pasture to last us the better part of this year.

It will be a major blow and loss for us if we lose the grass to locusts. We are worried,” said Douglas Keton, a resident.

The county Agriculture and Livestock ministry yesterday dispatched 300 litres of pesticide, 15 motorised sprayers and 30 knapsack sprayers as a mitigation measure to the 10 affected villages.

An emergency coordinating team has also been set up to monitor the situation.

Crop protection officers who have already toured the affected villages within  Kajiado East, Central and South sub-counties have confirmed desert locusts have invaded the county. 

Invasion a disaster

County Agriculture Executive Jackline Koin termed the invasion a disaster, especially, for herders, adding that urgent mitigation measures should be taken.

“We have engaged the national government to help us through aerial spraying. However, we have already hit the ground to curb the locusts,” she said. 

“Our crop experts are on standby to urgently tour any area reported to have the locusts and ascertain the situation so that action can be taken immediately,” she added.

The areas affected include Noonpopong’, Lele, Meto, Ilmunyi, Matapato North, Oloolotikoshi, Imbirikani, Sholinke, Eseki, Oldonyo lodge and Olobelbel.

 Elsewhere, Tana River Director of Special Programmes Abdullahi Haiti has said desert locusts have invaded pastoralist zones in the region causing massive destruction of vegetation.

Mobilise pupils

Speaking at Walsorea Sub-location in Tana North Sub-county on Saturday, he lauded residents for using locally available tools to chase away the locusts.

Haiti, who was accompanied by a team of officers from the Ministry of Agriculture, National Drought Management Authority and Tana North Assistant county commissioner John Kariuki, lauded teachers at Walsorea Primary School for mobilising pupils to chase away locusts that had landed on their playing ground.

The areas affected in the county include Naghi, Hirimani, Bangale and Madogo locations. However, no agricultural crops were destroyed by the locusts.

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