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Desert locusts invade maize farms in Murang’a County

A swarm of desert locusts on Wednesday evening invaded maize farms in Kambirwa area of Kiharu Constituency.

Farmers have expressed fear and panic over destruction of their crops by the locusts believed to have flown from neighbouring Machakos County.

The locusts  have been spotted in several farms within Kamuiru village and  are destroying Napier grass among other green vegetation.

One of the residents whose farm was invaded by the locusts Mr. Stephen Kinyua said he spotted the insects on Thursday morning when he embarked on harvesting his maize.

Swarm of locusts spotted in farms at Kambirwa area of Murang’a County. Photo By: Bernard Munyao

He noted that the locusts have started destroying any crop with green leaves like Napier grass and mango trees.

“We need the government to act fast and spray these locusts as they have started destroying our crops,” he added.

Theresia Nyambura on her part noted that children are scared of the locusts as they spend most of their times indoors.

“These insects are strange, they are even subjecting our children to get scared of going to school or do other farm chores,” added Nyambura.

Murang’a county executive member of agriculture Mr. Albert Mwaniki observed that two swarms were spotted flying to Murang’a from Machakos town on Wednesday.

Mwaniki said the locusts are not at a dangerous stage as they have not started laying eggs.

“The locusts are in brown stage and we want to spray them before reaching yellow stage. We have assembled motorized spraying equipment and training personnel to deal with the locusts,” stated Mwaniki.

The CEC noted that they are yet to know where the other swarms settled asking locals to be on the lookout and report in case they spot them in their farms.

“After spraying at Masinga in Machakos county, it indicates that some locusts regrouped and flew away and may be the ones in Murang’a  and other  neighbouring county,” added Mwaniki.

He said the county government has enough chemicals to control spread of the locusts within the county.

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro requested the Ministry of Agriculture to deploy helicopters to help spraying the insects before they move to other areas.

Kambirwa area, Nyoro said is the food basket of Murang’a county and destruction of crops will lead to hunger in the area.

“Let the Ministry of Agriculture led by Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya hasten employing measures to control locusts and mitigation ways without that,  all crops which are ready in the farms will be destroyed,” added Nyoro who was speaking in Murang’a town.

Desert locusts, the legislator said may spread to all counties and thus relevant government agencies need to take the exercise of controlling the insects with urgency.

By: Bernard Munyao

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