NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya Tuesday allayed fears of an imminent food insecurity threat due to ravaging locusts saying a sizeable portion of swarms was composed of egg-laying locusts which are less destructive.
Munya said the egg-laying swarms are preoccupied with finding the perfect spot to lay eggs and were in fact in distress owing to frequent movement from one place to another looking for conducive environment.
“Some of these swarms are in that stage of laying eggs and are very inactive in terms of feeding, and therefore not destructive like the younger swarms,” said Munya.
Munya’s comments which mirrored remarks he made in February come at a time of heightened concern on locust-control measures employed by the government with swarms having so far been detected in at least 22 counties.
He said the department of crops has so far used Sh230 million in fighting locusts. The CS added an additional Sh300 million in the locust-eradication campaign.
Munya projected the eradication of the swarms by June 2020.
In a bid to mobilize efforts in fighting the menace, the CS said he would be launching a sensitization program for the public on Wednesday, March 11, so that they can be involved in the exercise of containing them.
“You find that in some parts of the country people scare these swarms which in term disperse forming other smaller swarms hence making it hard to control them,” said Munya.
He said there are six planes deployed for aerial spraying while other three are for monitoring the movement of the swarms.
The CS is on Wednesday expected to flag off three additional planes aimed at stepping up the aerial spraying program.
The agriculture ministry is however avoiding aerial spraying in densely populated areas, so as to avoid spraying people and livestock.
The CS said in these places “hand spraying is applicable.”
The invasion of locusts has raised concerns of food security in Marsabit, Isiolo, Samburu, Turkana, Garissa, Kitui and Tharaka Nithi and other counties.