“Other farmers should try out this new technique. Apart from the good results, it does not also pose any health dangers that are very likely to be faced when one is using pesticides to spray their crops. The best time to put soil on the the plants is when it is raining so that it can go deep into the leaves and kill the worms,” he said.

The deadly pests have been reported in parts of Uasin Gishu and Nandi counties and have destroyed several hectares of maize crop that survived the effects of a dry spell.

DOOM

“The recurrence of the destructive pests spells doom to the cereal sector considering the fact that most farmers incurred extra costs due to high fertilizer prices following the absence of cheap government manure in the market this season,” said Julius Ngetich from Cheptiret, whose 17 acres of maize have been damaged by the fall armyworm.

Cereal farmers have been urged to do surveillance to help them detect and control the spread of the fall armyworm.

Last season, the fall armyworm destroyed several hectares of crops in Kitale, Bungoma, Kakamega, Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Busia, Nandi, Kericho, Baringo and Nakuru counties.

DEADLY EFFECTS

According to agricultural experts, the pest is deadly and its effects may take longer than expected because they feast on both young and mature crop.

The fall armyworm moths can move over huge distances, flying for about 30 kilometres in a day especially in the evening.

“I will be forced to incur extra costs controlling the spread of the fall armyworm in my farm, translating to extra cost while there is no guaranteed market for the maize produce,” said Mr Ngetich

The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) has described the armyworm invasion as worse this year as compared to previous seasons. This is due to erratic rainfall patterns.

It costs the farmers about Sh1,500 to spray an acre of maize farm with pesticides to control the spread of the worms.

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