NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya Sunday appealed for patience from Kenyans in locust-infested counties saying the government had upscaled ongoing efforts to contain desert locusts.
Munya said a recent aerial surveillance had reveled most swarms comprised of what he termed as yellow locusts which he said would “die soon,” dispelling fears of an imminent destruction of food crops that could potentially render the country food insecure.
“We’ve conducted an aerial surveillance and ascertained that the yellow locusts you see around are very old and are actually nearing the end of their lifespan,” he said.
“These old locusts pose no threat. I want you to understand the science of locusts. They’re about to hatch their eggs and so they’re just going to fly to where they’ll hatch,” the Cabinet Secretary who spoke in Karambari village, Mbeere North, in Embu indicated.
Munya said 20 aircraft had been assigned to conduct aerial spraying, an addition to the initial six.
The National Treasury allocated Sh230 million for a locust eradication campaign under the Ministry of Agriculture after then Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri indicated appealed for resources to tackle swarms that had crossed into the northeastern towards the tail end of December 2019.
The locusts spread from Wajir and Garissa into Mandera, Marsabit, Meru, Isiolo, Samburu, Turkana, Tharaka-Nithi, Laikipia, Kitui and Kirinyaga counties.
Munya’s latest statement on locust invasion sparked reactions on social media, mirroring Kiunjuri’s appeal for Kenyans to share images of insects they suspect to be locusts for verification.
“If you see any locusts, , take a picture and post on social media so we can confirm for you and alert local radio stations as well as local chiefs that way we will be able to verify through our command center,” he said at the time.