SH500 MILLION SPENT

Locust control chemicals not killing birds, says PS

Says toxicity levels are ultra-low and targeted at the insects only

In Summary

• Boga said the chemicals used are toxic only to target insects since they are of ultra-low concentration.

• The government and other partners target to eliminate locusts from Kenya by June.

Chemicals used in the aerial spraying of desert locusts are not killing birds, Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga has said. 

Boga said the chemicals used are toxic only to target insects since they are of ultra-low concentration.

The government and other partners target to eliminate locusts from Kenya by June.

The PS spoke to the press in Isiolo when he led government and partner experts to assess the progress of the operation.

He said agriculture officers and environmentalists are taking precaution to do no harm and will take corrective measures where needed.

Boga said the government has used about Sh500 million to hire planes, buy chemicals and in the welfare of field officers.

Resources are available to support the exercise for the next three months, he said.

“The burden has been lessened by the entry of Food and Agriculture Organisation who have taken over the costs of hiring planes, while the number of swarms has also reduced drastically, hence the number of planes being used in the exercise has also been reduced from 10 during peak days to just four,” he said.

He said that fighting locusts has been listed as an essential service. Officers involved in the surveillance and spraying the swarms can work beyond curfew restrictions.  

Boga said the government and partners will survey the magnitude of destruction caused by the insects. 

The government team will remain in the affected areas to monitor progress for three years after the desert locusts are contained.

Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti said that since December, the region has experienced numerous swarms of desert locusts.

Livelihoods in agriculturally productive counties such as Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Laikipia have been threatened, he said. 

Kuti said the control efforts have helped reduce the insects in Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu and Turkana counties.

(edited by o. owino)