In Summary
  • In the training sessions, farmers are being shown the various control methods at all stages of mealybug growth, namely the nymph and adult.
  • The insect is said to exist in two types namely the long-tailed and the short-tailed. “The long-tailed mealybug requires a male for fertilisation of eggs while the short one does not.
  • Shira Mukiibi, the business development manager at BioInnovate Africa, said they are working with scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs, farmers and community-based organisations, as well as policymakers.
  • Apart from the usual boiled and roasted menu, the roots can also be turned into savoury dishes when baked, grilled, mashed, chipped and even noodled.

Farmers trained on ways of fighting deadly mealybugs

Hit hard by invasion of mealybugs, the Tharaka Nithi County government is carrying out training ward by ward in an effort to manage the pest that is still wreaking havoc on farms.

Jasper Nkanya, the Agriculture executive, said the county is training farmers on the identification, control and prevention of the spread of mealybugs.

“The aim is to make farmers aware that the pest is in the area and they should be able to identify it and curb it,” he said.

In the training sessions, farmers are being shown the various control methods at all stages of mealybug growth, namely the nymph and adult.

The insect is said to exist in two types namely the long-tailed and the short-tailed. “The long-tailed mealybug requires a male for fertilisation of eggs while the short one does not. The long-tailed one doesn’t suck the sap and lives a very short period as its only function is to mate,” Hellen Muthengi, an agriculture ward officer told farmers, adding that wind is the main agent in spreading the insect.

Farmers were told to use pesticides as a last option, but were asked to employ organic methods that include soapy water with cooking oil. The oil makes the detergent to stick onto the leaves and stem.

-Caroline Wambui

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Don’t neglect sweet potato, agro-experts tell government

Lack of policies to promote the development of sweet potato and other crops that are considered ‘orphaned’ has limited their production despite their huge export potential, agriculture experts have noted.

They observed that since the tuber is not a cash crop, it has been neglected.

Ann Kitisya of Mimea International Limited, a tissue culture enterprise, is among entities multiplying clean seeds.

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