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Fall armyworm invasion affecting crops in Uasin Gishu

Maize farmers in Uasin Gishu County have been assured of government assistance to contain the spread of fall armyworms (FAW) invasion in the county.

Uasin Gishu County Agriculture Executive Committee member CEC Samuel Yego said the national government is working towards controlling the armyworms with support from the Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO.

The CEC in a press release said already, the national government had released 5,000 litres of chemical spray to the county in an attempt to counter the rapid spread of worms in Uasin Gishu.

The assorted chemicals from the Ministry of Agriculture include Deltamethrin, Alpha, Rapid, and Appeal that will be used to mitigate the invasion, said the CEC.

Yego said the fall armyworms infestation that started in Kapseret Sub County has spread to Soy and Moiben sub-counties,

He however gave hope to the farmers that the infestation is not severe and would be controlled by farmers regularly scouting their farms to detect the attack and reporting to the county authorities for quick response.

“The fall armyworm attack started in Kapseret, spread to Soy, and is now in Moiben, its effects is however not so severe,” said the CEC.

Mitigation programmes are underway and the ministry is supporting farmers who report the attack by giving them pesticides to spray the farms, he added.

By April, the county government announced that the invasion of Fall Armyworm had destroyed 121 acres of crops, 100 acres of maize, and 16 acres of Boma Rhodes grass.

In Kesses Sub County, 50 acres have been affected, while in Kapseret 16 acres have been affected, and in Soy sub-county 50 acres have been reported to be affected.

Yego has also encouraged farmers to keep scouting and reporting cases of the attack to avoid crop destruction and low yields.

He has warned of severe damages if the farmers were not proactive in reporting the cases for urgent action to be taken.

The CEC said the invasion by the fall armyworms could be attributed to insufficient rains in the region that has created a conducive environment for the worms to spread.

“We have an issue where we always get armyworms attack whenever there aren’t sufficient rains and we expected heavy rains around this time, but there is no rain. The area is warm and moist and this encourages the multiplication of the armyworms,” Yego stated.

Newly planted pasture and maize fields are particularly at risk of being attacked by the worms.

By Chemutai Korir and Kiptanui Cherono 

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