CROPS DESTROYED

Voi farmers panic as swarms of locusts invade area

Millions of desert locusts have invaded parts of Taita Taveta county, destroying crops and pasture.

In Summary
  • Farmers want government to swiftly control the destructive insects before they breed.
  • Mzaza pleaded with the government to set aside a special kitty to compensate farmers whose crops have been destroyed.

Farmers in the Voi sub-county of Taita Taveta county have expressed fear of losing all their crops after swarms of desert locusts invaded the area last week.

Farmers in Voi subcounty of Taita Taveta county have expressed fear of losing all their crops after swarms of desert locusts invaded the area last week.

The destructive insects have caused havoc in the region, destroying crops and pasture.

“After the onset of the October-December rainfall, we had started planting and our crops were doing well. It is now sad that these insects have almost cleared everything in the farm,” Mary Chao, a farmer in Paranga, said.

She called upon the government to intervene and control the swarms before they breed and hatch into millions.

 

James Mzaza, another farmer in Mbololo, said his entire farm had been cleared by the insects in just three days. His two-week maize crops, he said, were the first to be cleared before the insects devoured sorghum and other crops.

“If this problem continues, we shall be faced by acute hunger. Every farmer had hopes of a bumper harvest after the rains started so well but the dreams are shattered,” he said.

Mzaza pleaded with the government to set aside a special kitty to compensate farmers whose crops have been destroyed by the insects so as to enable them to afford food.

Hundreds of farmers in the region depend on small scale farming during the rainy season for a living.

The swarms are believed to have been pushed by wind from Ethiopia to the region through northern and eastern counties. It is the first time the county is experiencing the locust invasion.

The county Agriculture department on Friday said plans are underway to mobilise resources to fight the menace.

They urged farmers to be vigilant on the intensity of the swarms, areas under attack and report exact locations for possible control.

 

Extension officers have also been deployed in the affected areas to monitor the movement as the government prepares to save the farms from destruction.

Edited by Henry Makori