BREEDING ZONE

Makutano farmers fear crops loss as invading yellow locusts mate

All attempts to drive them away fruitless.

In Summary

• Locusts have settled down in Makutano village for mating.

• Locusts have eaten a big percentage of crops in nearly 80 acres of farmland. 

Mating yellow locusts at Makutano village in Kitui county on Saturday.
BREEDING ZONE Mating yellow locusts at Makutano village in Kitui county on Saturday.
Image: MUSEMBI NZENGU

Residents of Makutano village in Kitui fear further crop devastation after invading swarms of desert locusts turned yellow and started breeding in their farms. 

The destructive insects have transformed acres upon acres of farmland in the remote village yellow and are mating in their thousands to the chagrin of the residents.

Residents told the Star on Saturday the locusts invaded the area on Monday last week and initially attacked crops. All attempts to drive them away were fruitless. 

 
 

“We have tried to scare them away by making loud noises and smoking them out using bonfires but they are not moving. They are instead seen mounting each other in their numbers,” Mwove Kyundu said.

Mwove Kyundu in a farm that has been invaded by the yellow locusts in Makutano village Kitui county on Saturday.
INVASION Mwove Kyundu in a farm that has been invaded by the yellow locusts in Makutano village Kitui county on Saturday.
Image: MUSEMBI NZENGU

Kyundu who took reporters around farms teeming with the yellow locusts said their pleas to the government to support them had gone unheeded.

“The locusts have eaten crops in nearly 80 acres of farmland in Makutano as well as pasture for livestock. We are staring at imminent famine unless the government provides us with sufficient relief food rations,” the farmers said.

Eldely Ndavo Muthui from Makutano village said that it was the first time in her life she had seen the stubborn yellow locusts.  

“I have never encountered an obstinate breed of locusts like the ones that have invaded out land this time around,” Muthui said.

Kitui Deputy Governor Wathe Nzau has lamented the presence of the yellow mature locusts in Kitui county. 

Nzau said the locust invasion could become endemic unless action to wipe them out is taken immediately.

“Mature yellow locusts in Kitui county are now mating and laying eggs. The eggs will hatch in 21 one days and nymph will ravage all vegetation as they are wingless and unable to fly,” Wathe said.

Kitui Agriculture chief officer James Songolo said the country was out of locust pesticides. He said that local chemicals were being tested for efficacy as alternatives.

He said that world over the locusts pesticide is produced on demand and for the current invasion, the production was lower than the demand.

“A consignment is expected at the weekend,” Songolo said.

Elderly Ndavo Muthui said she's never seen a stubborn swarm as the one invading farms currently.
NEVER SEEN BEFORE Elderly Ndavo Muthui said she's never seen a stubborn swarm as the one invading farms currently.
Image: MUSEMBI NZENGU