SPREADING MENACE

State buys another 7,500 litres of chemicals to fight locusts

Bureaucratic process of procuring chemicals, slowing down locust control process

In Summary

• National Treasury approves the release of Sh300 million to control locusts, says agriculture PS.  

• Locusts have now spread to 17 counties.  

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

The government has bought another 7,500 litres of chemicals to fight desert locusts.

This is in addition to the 20,000 litres of chemicals that are already in use and the government is expecting more chemicals from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga yesterday said the new batch of chemicals arrived in the country on Monday. The chemicals will be distributed to various locusts infested regions.

 

“We want to be prudent and ensure we do not waste chemicals. Some locust swarms are the same ones moving from place to place. We are working closely with county officials to ensure we only spray targeted swarms,” he said.

The PS said the ministry received approval for another Sh300 million from Treasury to fight the locusts. This brings it to a total of Sh530 million that the government has so far released from the emergency funds to control the upsurge of the locust invasion.

This came after Agriculture CS Peter Munya on January 26 said the government had run out of chemicals to kill locusts because the swarms are breeding and spreading to more counties.

Munya attributed the shortage to long procurement procedures, saying this had slowed down efforts to control further spread of the voracious pests.

We have been experiencing delays and shortages of chemicals which are not found locally and are imported from Japan. The logistics involved have been difficult but the President has given a go-ahead for us to order direct purchase from the Japanese government,” the CS said.

The number of counties invaded by the locusts by February 10 had increased to 17. They include Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, Samburu, Garissa, Isiolo, Laikipia, Meru, Baringo, Embu, Machakos, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, Kitui, Turkana, Kajiado and Muranga Counties.

The desert locusts have since spread to northeast Uganda near Amudat.

 

FAO said numerous immature and mature swarms continue to move throughout northern and central areas in Kenya. This will cause further locusts to increase in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, with new swarms forming in March and April.

“Other reports indicated that the locusts had crossed the border into northern Tanzania close to Mt. Kilimanjaro, reaching Arusha and Mushi,” said FAO in the updated locust report.