In Summary
  • The spraying was to begin on Saturday morning, but was delayed since the 940 litres of pesticides delivered earlier by the government was for hand pumps.
  • Laikipia Agriculture Executive Lucy Murugi said officers in the department have been put on alert and directed to promptly report the landing of the insects.
  • Dr George Ongamo, an insect science expert who coordinates the desert locust management team at the Entomological Society of Kenya, said authorities have to urgently deal with the swarms that entered the country last December 22.

Aerial spraying of desert locusts that have invaded Isiolo and Meru counties began in Kipsing and Kachiuru yesterday.

The spraying was to begin on Saturday morning, but was delayed since the 940 litres of pesticides delivered earlier by the government were for hand pumps.

Officials had to reorder chemicals that were delivered later that evening.

Isiolo County Agriculture and Livestock chief officer Salad Jillo said two planes — one provided by the government and another from Farmland Aviation — did not spray Malkagalla since locals provided erroneous information during the mapping of the area.

“We sprayed Kipsing on the border with Laikipia County and Kachiuru in Meru. There were no locusts in Malkagalla despite resident saying the insects invaded the area,” Mr Jillo, who chairs the locust coordination team for Isiolo, Laikipia and Samburu counties said.

HIGH ALERT

By Saturday evening, the pests had covered 3,150 square kilometres in Garba Tulla and Merti sub-counties.

Garba Tulla was worst hit, with 3,000 square kilometres of its land invaded.

Laikipia Agriculture Executive Lucy Murugi said officers in the department have been put on alert and directed to promptly report the landing of the insects.

She said the department has formed a locust coordination team to deal with the emergency.

“A team from Farmland Aviation has been contracted and is on site ready to begin spraying along the Laikipia-Isiolo-Samburu counties boundaries,” Dr Murugi said.

“We have increased surveillance across the county and on our the borders with our neighbours because swarms in Isiolo and Samburu are reportedly flying south.”

FOOD SECURITY

Laikipia North MP Sarah Lekorere said the locust invasion poses a food security risk.

Addressing journalists in her constituency yesterday, Ms Lekorere said a crisis looms in the region if herders are not helped to eradicate the insects.

“As pastoralists, we foresee disaster because pastures will be destroyed by the swarms. I call on Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri to send spraying teams to Laikipia,” she said.

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