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Desert locusts invade farms in Mbooni sub county

A swarm of desert locusts has invaded farms in parts of Mbooni sub county leaving a trail of destruction.

The locusts infested Nthengeni, Ndumbi, Kalawa, Kiteta and Kimangu areas Sunday evening and have been feeding on maize, sorghum and pasture among other crops since.

Residents are now calling on the government to move with speed and spray the locusts to avert a looming famine.

Esther Ndunge a resident of Ndumbi told KNA that the pests invaded her farm Monday at around noon and was forced to chase them away by beating iron sheets and empty cans to make loud noises.

“They landed on my farm and within a very short time reduced cow peas plants to mere shrubs. I have been chasing them by beating empty cans and iron sheets,” said Ndunge.

She expressed her fear that the locusts may leave them with no food if quick intervention is not done.

“The food on our farm is what we rely on to feed our families, we are staring at a food crisis,” said Ndunge.

Alphonse Muia, also a resident called on the government to use aerial spraying saying the current ground spraying being used by the Ministry of Agriculture was not effective.

“We need light aircrafts as a backup, the swarms are really big,” noted Muia.

Sub county Agricultural Officer William Mwangi said the county government will today deploy an aircraft to spray the locusts.

He noted that after sparing the locusts at Nthengeni using a vehicle yesterday, they roosted in the forests and will now require an aircraft.

He however described as minimal the damage caused by the locusts that migrated from the neighbouring Machakos county.

“We have managed to spray and kill quite a number of them. Our plan is to eradicate them before they cause more havoc,” said the agricultural officer.

Mwangi called on residents to be on high alert and ensure that the locusts do not invade their farms.

“We ask the residents to guard their farms and complement the spraying,” he said.

by Roselyne Kavoo

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