Locust invasion reverses rainfall gains in Turkana
6 months ago, 13 June 18:08
Locusts have invaded thousands of acres of land in the vast pastoral Turkana County, threatening the shorten the joy of residents after the recent heavy downpour left them with crops and livestock feeds.
County Agriculture executive Chris Aletia said more than 10,000 acres of land under food crops had been affected.
“With this being a pastoral region the acreage or pasture that is affected is enormous. We require 4,000 litres of pesticides to eliminate the catastrophe that is a threat to the yield expected from our farms,” he said.
He said the locusts are suspected to have migrated from neighbouring Ethiopia noting that Turkana North Constituency was the first to be affected by the insects.
The pest was first reported in Lakezone, Lapur Ward, Kibish Ward, Kaikor-Kaaleng and Nakalale wards.
“We ask various partners including Food and Agriculture Organisation to intervene because the exercise requires an aircraft for aerial spraying, which is an expensive venture keeping in mind that the county is vast,” said Mr Aletia.
According to June situation report, the tree locusts are migratory, trans-boundary and notifiable pests that prefer to attack acacia trees and Prosopis that are the major tree vegetation cover in Turkana.
Mr Aletia said that locust outbreak had been reported in most parts of the county even though the intensity of infestation needs to be determined by carrying out surveillance.
“Locusts are feeding on plant leaves. A single tree can have a swarm of about 150 to 200 locusts,” he said.
He said that the only reliable way to control the insects was through aerial spraying since most of the locusts were found to hibernate in Acacia and the Prosopis bushes that were surrounding the farm.
He said that there is an urgent need to reduce the population of locust to lower the economic effect of the damaging insects on food security.
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