- Ground spraying to be carried out in Isiolo, Turkana, Machakos, Marsabit, Garissa and Wajir
- Six countries affected, with Somali and Ethiopia the hardest hit
The government and FAO have now sough the services on National Youth Service to fight the desert locusts which have spread to 17 counties.
Under the joint partnership, 600 NYS servicemen will be deployed in ground spraying to exterminate the pests.
This was said on Thursday during the launch of a training programme for the servicemen in NYS training college in Gilgil.
The administration secretary in the State Department of Crops Kello Harsama said the pests were a major threat to the food security in the country.
He noted that ongoing aerial spraying had not been successful hence the need to start ground spraying using the NYS officers.
“In December last year only three counties were affected but this has risen to 17, meaning 75 per cent of landmass is under threat from this pest,” he said.
Addressing the servicemen, Harsama said the ground exercise will be carried out in Isiolo, Turkana, Machakos, Marsabit, Garissa and Wajir.
“We have been using aerial spraying for the last three months and this has not effective and we have decided to use ground spraying as its more effective,” he said.
FAO country representative Dr Tobias Takavarasha sadi the desert locusts had already invaded six countries with Somali and Ethiopia been the hardest hit.
“Apart from Kenya, other affected countries are Uganda, Tanzania, Yemen, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somali, hence the need for urgent action,” he said.
He said FAO was keen to support the country through funding, capacity building, provision of information and offering expertise in containing the spread of the locusts.
“We are heading to the planting season and thus the need to control the newly hatched locusts as a swarm consumes food for 35,000 people in one day,” he said.
A director with NYS Shock Amudavi said training for the exercise will be carried out in Gilgil and Yatta, with each college providing 300 servicemen.