NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 3 – The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Monday received a donation of Sh10 million worth of insecticides to help in the fight against Fall Armyworms.
While receiving the donation at Kilimo House, Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett called for more research by local companies into crop science in order to help eliminate pests ravaging farms in the country.
“Now that we are facing this Fall Armyworm problem, I want to encourage chemical companies to do more research so that we can see how we can eliminate this in Africa. I think we have not seen the worst of this worm now and the real impact is really ahead of us,” Bett said at the ministry headquarters adding that care need to be take to avert a crisis.
Bayer East Africa’s Managing Director and Head of Crop Science Eric Bureau who was accompanied by the company’s Vice Chairperson Dr Chris Kirubi said the product known as Belt SC 480 has the capability to put the current invasion under control.
“I think we must really move fast because the infestation is on and we shall ensure that this product is distributed in time,” Bureau said.
Dr Kirubi commended Bett for what he said was exemplary performance at the helm of the crucial ministry saying he proven that he was capable of managing a crisis such as the one that has been facing the country due to a prolonged drought.
Noting that the situation could have been worse had the ministry failed to respond appropriately, Dr Kirubi urged Kenyans to support the government so that food shortages can be eliminated completely in the future.
“I must thank the minister for personally getting involved in solving the shortage of food. He’s been running between here and Mombasa looking for maize arrivals, trucks to ferry the maize… this is the first minister I have seen do this,” he said.
“We ask Kenyans to understand that the ministry has done the best and is still doing the best because nobody foresaw this coming to this part of the world. Now that the worms are here, we need to deal with them,” he added.
The insecticides will be distributed to farmers in Kwale, Uasin Gishu, Kakamega, Bungoma, Kirinyaga and Nakuru before being rolled out in other counties.
Kilimo House issued an alert on the invasion of Fall Armyworm in April with counties in Western, North and South Rift regions suffering the effects of the destructive pests.
Counties affected so far include Baringo, Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega, Kericho, Nakuru, Nandi, Narok, Siaya and Uasin Gishu.
The pest causes massive damage to maize, sorghum, rice, millet, wheat and barley. Also affected are pasture grasses including Bermuda, hay and Napier.
Other susceptible crops are kales, cabbages, legumes or pulses, bananas, tomatoes, capsicum, ginger, spinach, amaranths, onions, sugar beet, citrus, cucumber and sunflower.