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Desert locust extermination intensified in Kitui

The government has intensified the fight against the destructive desert locusts which have invaded most parts of Kitui County since late January.

Aerial and ground spraying is underway to control and decimate the numerous swarms of desert locusts before breeding.

The operation is being conducted jointly by the National Youth Service (NYS), UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Kitui county government.

Speaking during launch of spraying exercise in Mwitika location in Kitui East today, Kitui Deputy Governor Dr Wathe Nzau said the second wave of locust invasion had affected all the eight sub-counties unlike last year when only Mwingi Central and Mwingi North bore the brunt.

“No part of Kitui County has been spared this time round but we are optimistic that the swarms will be exterminated in a matter of days to minimise damage on crops and vegetation as well as forestall further breeding and movement of the swarms,” he said.

Dr Nzau however assured residents inhabiting the invaded areas that the swarms of ruinous desert locusts would be eliminated in less than a week’s time.

FAO Head of Programmes Hamisi Williams reiterated the organisation’s commitment to continue supporting the country in taming the desert locusts.

“We have partnered with NYS to train over 1,600 servicemen to respond to desert locust invasion besides providing motorised knapsack sprayers to ease extermination of the swarms,” said Hamisi.

Masung’u Matoe, a resident of Mwitika, expressed concern that the invasion has threatened the area’s food security but lauded the government for the swift intervention.

by Yobesh Onwong’a

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