Farmers want locust invasion declared a national disaster

Monday, February 24th, 2020 08:04 |
Locusts invasion. Photo/Courtesy

Farmers are calling on the government to declare the locusts invasion a national disaster and mobilise  resources to stop further destruction of crops.

 Through their national body—the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF)—farmers who spoke at their headquarters in Thogoto, Kiambu county said the locust menace continues to spread unabated.

 KENAFF chief executive Mwenda Mailutha said it was time the government deployed even the Kenya Defence Forces to combat the locusts, which have spread to all parts of the country and continue to multiply.

Mailutha said farmers are worried about their livelihoods because the insects are destroying food crops and pasture and even cash crops such as tea, coffee and miraa. 

“We appreciate what the government is doing but it appears these locusts are too many and have now spread to all parts of the country. We urge the government to declare the  invasion a national disaster so that more efforts and resources can be mobilised to eliminate them,’’ he said. 

Stop imports

At the same time farmers have called on government to stop the import of farm produce such milk, eggs, chicken and fish that are produced in the country. 

He said the excuse  given by government about price stabilisation is not valid and is a cover to bring in cheap imports for the benefit of few traders while killing the local agricultural and food sector which is the mainstay of the country’s economy. 

Mailutha said such imports should be stopped because prices would be stabilised through market forces, as farmers would be forced to produce more to meet demand and in the process the prices would level up. On the question of Guaranteed Minimum Returns for farmer’s produce, Mailutha said this is what farmers have been pushing over a long time and it is an idea whose time has come and should be implemented as soon as possible.

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