PLEAS FOR HELP

Homa Bay farmers decry armyworm invasion, crops destroyed

The pests have invaded more than 9,884 acres across the county.

In Summary

• Extension officers have been asked to take stock and report affected areas for urgent intervention.

• The pests are destroying food crops, including maize and sorghum, on the farms.

Farmer Dorine Aoko and Rangwe subcounty extension officer Andrew Nyasane at Aoko's farm in Gul Kagembe, Rangwe, on April 6, 2022
Farmer Dorine Aoko and Rangwe subcounty extension officer Andrew Nyasane at Aoko's farm in Gul Kagembe, Rangwe, on April 6, 2022
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO
Farmer Dorine Aoko Juma whose maize crops have been destroyed by armyworms in Gul Kagembe, Rangwe, on April 6, 2022
Farmer Dorine Aoko Juma whose maize crops have been destroyed by armyworms in Gul Kagembe, Rangwe, on April 6, 2022
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO
Farmer John Mose receives pesticide and personal protective equipment from Homa Bay director of agriculture Charles Nyayiera in Kobala, Rachuonyo South, on April 6, 2022
Farmer John Mose receives pesticide and personal protective equipment from Homa Bay director of agriculture Charles Nyayiera in Kobala, Rachuonyo South, on April 6, 2022
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO
Homa Bay agricultural officers led by director Charles Nyayiera and farmers inspect the damage caused to crops by armyworms in Gul Kagembe, Rangwe, on April 6, 2022
Homa Bay agricultural officers led by director Charles Nyayiera and farmers inspect the damage caused to crops by armyworms in Gul Kagembe, Rangwe, on April 6, 2022
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO

Hundreds of farmers in Homa Bay are counting losses following  armyworm infestation.

The pests are destroying food crops, including maize and sorghum, on the farms.

A spot check in Rangwe and Rachuonyo South subcounties revealed that many farmers will not harvest anything as their crops have been destroyed by armyworms.

Rangwe farmers Dorine Juma and Angelina Odipo said the pests have damaged and stripped the crops bare.

On Wednesday, Juma said her maize and sorghum on seven acres were affected.

She said she used more than 300kgs of fertiliser to grow the crops.

“The worms have caused a lot of drawbacks and loss to me. I won’t get any benefit from the farms because the crops have been destroyed,” Juma said.

Odipo said they are likely to experience food shortage and face starvation if a solution to eliminate the pests is not found.

“Most farms have remained bare because the armyworms ate the crops. We don’t have money to buy seeds for replanting hence help should come faster,” she said.

Odipo spoke to journalists in Gul Kagembe village, Rangwe.

Farmers Dorine Omayi and John Mose from Kobala village in Rachuonyo South said the worms destroyed napier grass for their cattle.

“The armyworms have left the land without grass for grazing cattle. They spread very fast and cause massive destruction,” Omayi said.

Homa Bay director of agriculture Charles Nyayiera said they have received complaints from farmers in more than five subcounties where the armyworms have invaded.

Nyayiera said the Ministry of Agriculture has agreed to send them pesticides to help them address the problem.

More than 4,000 hectares (9,884 acres) of farms with crops have been affected across the county.

Extension officers have been asked to take stock and report affected areas for urgent intervention.

“Let our farmers collaborate with the officers on the ground so they can get quick assistance. The situation is containable should stakeholders work together,” Nyariera said.

Edited by A.N

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