The government has moved with speed to control pest infestations in food crop farms in Marsabit County in order to forestall crop failure.
Farmers put thousands of acres under cultivation after a prolonged drought that left local communities food insecure. The county has been experiencing heavy rainfall, portending a good harvest.
However, an invasion by fall armyworms is threatening an expected bumper harvest of maize, beans, and green grams.
The State Department for Crop Development in the Ministry of Agriculture is making timely interventions so as to avert crop failure in about 10,000 acres under food crop production.
Principal Secretary for the State Department for Crop Development, Kelloh Harsama, said when he distributed insecticides donated by the government to farmers in Uran and Galore locations in Sololo sub-county that efforts were being made to address the problem.
Mr Harsama, who also launched the spraying exercise, said the problem was not confined to Marsabit but to 44 other countries across the country, adding that farmers were being assisted in interventions.
Over 1,000 farmers in Marsabit County are benefiting from the donation of insecticides, which include flonex, belt, and Xpand Max.
“We have inspected and established the urgent need for intervention in order to safeguard food security not only in this county but in Kenya as a whole,” noted the PS.
Apart from the assortment of insecticides, the government also provided 40 motorized knapsacks and 47 ordinary sprayer pumps and spraying gear for free.
He urged farmers to redouble their efforts in food production in order to be food secure by using every available drop of water within their reach.
The Principal Secretary said it was through production that the country could raise enough food, adding that deliberate measures were being taken to enable farmers to bolster production.
Moyale Member of Parliament Prof. Guyo Wako commended the government for moving in on time to help the small-scale farmers fight the pest invasion that could otherwise have been devastating.
He hailed the efforts being made at both levels of government to make local communities food sufficient after a long period of dependency on relief food owing to drought resulting from climate change.
Farmers hailed President Ruto’s administration for what they termed “always being at hand to assist whenever need arises” and appealed for the repair of the dilapidated road network in the area, which was destroyed by the recent rains.
Marsabit County Director for Agriculture Julius Gitu advised farmers to spray their crops against the fall armyworms early in the morning and in the evening when the pests are more vicious.
The county government issued 1,500 farmers with 8.4 tons of an assortment of seeds for planting at the onset of the short rainy season.
By Sebastian Miriti