Kenya: Locust Invasion - Govt Hires Experts to Assess Damage in Counties

16 February 2020

Kenya has appointed a consultant to assess the damage desert locusts have caused since the invasion began about three months ago.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya announced this on Sunday, when he came face to face with a fresh swarm in the expansive and arid Mbeere part of Embu County.

Accompanied by area member of Parliament Muriuki Njagagua, the CS said the consultant and a team of experts will soon be dispatched to affected counties to carry out rapid assessments.

"We would like to know the magnitude of crops destroyed so we can find ways to assist the victims," he told the residents at Karambari village in Mbeere North Constituency after visiting an affected area.

The swarms crossed into northeast Kenya on December 28, 2019 and have spread to counties including Embu, Mandera, Marsabit, Wajir, Garissa, Isiolo, Samburu, Meru, Turkana, Machakos, Kirinyaga, Tharaka-Nithi and Laikipia.

COMMITMENT

CS Munya reiterated the government's commitment to fighting the invasion, saying there are enough chemicals and equipment, so there is no reason to panic.

While noting the dangers the insects pose, he said those that have landed in Embu are mature and have started laying eggs.

"We would like to destroy the locusts and their eggs," he said and directed national and county agriculture officials to embark on strict monitoring of the insects' movements and report back immediately.

"One locust lays 160 eggs so the insects should be eliminated before they all lay eggs," he said, adding spraying should take place before they spread to other parts.

DESTRUCTION

The MP said the fresh swarm entered the county on Friday, but has already left a huge trail of destruction, hence the need for the government to help the people.

"Residents are crying so we are happy that the government has responded fast and that spraying is going on," he said.

Mr Njagagua informed the CS that the locusts were not sparing muguka and pigeon peas.

Farmer Cecily Muthoni told Mr Munya that they ravaged her muguka and other crops, leaving her with nothing.

Muminji Ward Representative Newton Kariuki said the residents will starve if the government does not send food donations.

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