In Summary
  • Mr Omar urged the government to declare the locust invasion a national disaster.
  • He said the insects are likely to spread across other parts of East Africa.

More than 50,000 hectares of farmland in Marsabit County face the threat of being decimated by desert locusts that have continued to destroy vegetation cover.

The recent invasion by locusts that originated from the neighbouring counties of Wajir and Mandera has sent more than 80 per cent of the county’s agro-pastoralist population into panic.

Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries executive Mohammed Omar told the Nation that the locusts, which came into the county through Shurr, landed on at least six roosting zones spreading over 70 kilometres from Qubi Qallo to Dogogicha in Sagante-Jaldesa.

While appealing for timely intervention by the national government, Mr Omar said the county’s farmlands and pasture zones are at grave risk, noting that within 15 minutes of their landing at Dogogicha, the insects had already decimated vast swathes of farmland.

He said the devolved unit is facing an acute shortage of spraying equipment and pesticides, adding that surveillance and mapping of roosting areas to aid in spraying had already been done.

FOOD SECURITY

In the meantime, he urged locals to use alternative methods to battle the menace.

Mr Omar urged the government to declare the locust invasion a national disaster, saying the insects are likely to spread across other parts of East Africa.

Marsabit County director of agriculture Julius Gitu said the livelihoods of the residents, who depend mainly on agriculture and pastoralism, is at stake as crops such as maize, beans and cowpeas now risk being completely wiped out.

“The county received good rains and the vegetation cover and crop production have been promising, but the locust invasion risks wiping out farms and pasture,” Mr Gitu said.

He said that the locusts will wipe out grasslands and farmlands if no timely interventions are put in place. ''This will hurt crop, beef and milk production,'' he said.

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