The government will deliver more equipment to contain desert locusts and prevent them from causing more crop and vegetation damage in Garissa County.
The Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya who witnessed firsthand hatchling of wingless locust nymphs perched on crops and trees during a visit to Kamuthe area in Fafi Sub County on Saturday, promised to provide a plane for aerial spraying as well as motorized and hand pumps.
Munya said the national government will avail a plane, 3 motorized sprayers and 50 specialized sprayers and 100 hand-held sprayers to be positioned at the Garissa Locust Response Base to protect the 400 km stretch of irrigation farms along the banks of River Tana in Garissa County.
He said that the government was working closely with other organizations involved in the fight against the spread of the desert locusts, among them Food and Agriculture organization (FAO).
“As a government we are determined to completely eradicate these swarms of locusts and especially the second generation that later matures to adults. We do not want to rush into doing an assessment because the dreaded pests were still entering into the country and North Eastern was a migratory route from Yemen. Right now we have a complete picture of the menace,” said Munya.
The CS confirmed that 1200 litres of pesticides had already been delivered to the county as part of the concerted efforts by the national government, county government of Garissa and FAO to contain the situation.
Munya further hinted at compensation for farmers who have incurred untold loses occasioned by the pests, adding that government teams were already on the ground to conduct an assessment that will work out modalities on payments later.
“We have already appointed a consultant who will be doing coordination with officials on the ground. We are seeking to know how many farmers have been affected, the amount of food destroyed for each farmer, so that we look for resources to help them overcome this devastating challenge,” he said.
Area MP Abdikarim Osman called for a stronger collaboration and concerted efforts among the National, County government, FAO and other partners to contain the locust infestation across the country, as this was a threat to the livelihoods of Kenyans.
The county executive for Agriculture and Livestock, Mohamed Shalle said that the county had so far experienced invasion by 9 swarms of locust, noting that it was important to deal with hatchings as they breed.
By Jacob Songok