A fresh swarm of desert locusts has invaded Rhamu area in Mandera County causing panic among pastoralists and farmers along River Daua.
The locusts made their way to the area from Lafey Sub County last Saturday after the invasive insects reportedly crossed over the border from neighboring Somalia.
According to the farmers in the area who practice irrigation, the locusts invaded their onion farms immediately they arrived in the evening until the following morning.
One of the affected farmers, Mohammed Noor said the national government should move with speed and assist in curbing the spread of the pests.
Although the county government has begun spraying the disastrous locusts, Noor said that the region lacked technical know-how and sophisticated equipment to contain the menace.
He said the only sure way of containing the insects was through aerial spraying which is easier and covers a wider area as opposed to using hand spray.
A pastoralist, Abdullahi Mohammed said they are now starring at a possible drought since the pasture they got from last year’s rainfall is being consumed by the locusts.
He is worried that if this continues there would be a big food and pasture shortage in the county.
The County director of agriculture Diisow Noor admits that as a government they lacked capacity to fight the locusts and appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare the invasion a national disaster.
He said lack of enough personnel and equipment remained the biggest challenge in containing locusts which breed at a very high rate.
And in a related development in Samburu county, local Woman Representative Mrs Maison Leshomo has urged the government to intensify mitigation measures on locust invasion to curb the insects from spreading further to other parts of the country.
She called on the Ministry of Agriculture to urgently move with speed and intervene, saying currently the threat of the insects is being felt in Samburu East.
“Swarms of locusts have already been sighted in Archers Post, Samburu East this is disaster, I call on the Ministry of Agriculture to speed up the spraying before they migrate towards the rest of the county.
Leshomo further appeal to President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare locust invasion a national disaster as it threatens the economic livelihood of Kenyans, particularly the pastoralist in Northern Kenya besides jeopardizing food security.
She called on Samburu residents to be calm as the government endeavors to do what it can to contain the situation, expressing confidence that the locust menace would be eradicated soon.
By Dickson Githaiga and Petikas Lelendu