Kilifi County residents are a relieved lot after the county administration acquired modern equipment to destroy desert locusts that invaded the area a month ago.
County Chief Officer for Livestock and Fisheries, Fredrick Kaingu told journalists at Gongoni trading centre Friday that his department shall use modern technology to spray a radius of 50 metres at a time.
Kaingu said the county had received vehicle-mounted, pressure and hand sprayers from Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) that he informed would help eliminate the invasive desert locusts in affected areas.
He said the sophisticated equipment would be used alongside others that a team of 50 National Youth Service (NYS) officers have been using to spray the destructive insects since January 4, 2021.
This is after officials found out that the deadly locusts had hatched presenting a new breed of insects that are more dangerous and could cause major damage as they are said to be aggressive feeders.
The Chief Officer, who was receiving the equipment from FAO and National Government officials, said the equipment would speed up the spraying and elimination process.
”We have received modernised hand sprayers which can spray approximately 30 metres. NYS officers have been using hand sprayers that covered a radius of only 10 metres,” he said.
He expressed optimism that the new equipment would eliminate the locusts in 15 days, noting that 550 hectares out of the 1,200 hectares had already been sprayed since the operation began early this month.
The coordinator of the desert locust eradication programme in Kilifi County, Mr. Anthony Ngala, said the arrival of the equipment would hasten the programme.
Ngala said the density of pests had reduced as officials had already eradicated the insects in parts of Gongoni and Marereni areas of Magarini constituency and was confident they would do so in the entire county.
“So far, the pests are in stage four and we will not allow them to reach stage five which is the dangerous phase,” he said adding, “The equipment we have received uses Ultra Low Volume Pesticide (ULV) and water.
by Emmanuel Masha