A swarm of locusts have descended in Kisumu County as they continue their spread across the nation.
Speaking to media houses yesterday, farmers in Muhoroni expressed concern for their crops after sighting swarms of the hugely destructive pests.
Consequently, the farmers in the area asked for quick intervention from their county government as the locusts continue eating their crops.
Muhoroni is one of the leading producers of agricultural produce in the country. It is home to several sugar estates and companies, including Muhoroni Sugar Mill and Chemelil Sugar Company.
Additionally, there are also rice farms in Ahero, found in the larger Muhoroni district. A such, a locust invasion in the area would further cripple the country’s ailing agricultural sector.
However, according to Kisumu County Agriculture CEC Oguom Gilchrist, the insects did not process the characteristics of desert locusts after assessment. He said they would release more details of their assessment soon, though.
Nonetheless, Muhoroni Deputy County Commissioner Erick Wanyonyo confirmed that they were locusts. He said that they had been spotted in Kamarawa village.
This comes at a time when Kenyans are reeling with shock at Agriculture CS, Peter Munya’s suggestion that the locust invasion was not yet a national disaster.
These remarks were unfortunate, considering that the locusts have now spread and are present in over twenty counties. Moreover, Peter Munya has also been criticized and mocked over the suggestion that the menace would take care of itself once the older locusts begin to die out.
“What you see now are old locusts. That is why they are yellow. They will die off once they lay their eggs.” Peter Munya said to farmers in Ijogi, Meru County.
Following those remarks, the Senate Committee summoned Peter Munya. The committee seeks to find out what measures his ministry is doing to curb the spread of the locust menace, the worst invasion of locusts in the country in 70 years. Peter Munya is set to appear before the committee on Thursday, 20, at 9 AM.
Peter Munya took the reins at the Agriculture docket after hilarious, yet poignant gaffes by his predecessor, Mwangi Kiunjuri. In an iconic moment, Kiunjuri asked Kenyans to take photos of suspected locusts in their locale and send them to the ministry to confirm if they were indeed locusts.
Indeed, Munya has only been in the office for weeks but had stepped in with new strategies to fight the pests.
Spottings in Nairobi
As this went on, several residents of Nairobi have taken to social media to share images of what they believe to be the desert locusts.
In the images, one can see they yellowish, black-spotted insects.
Who else has seen locusts in Nairobi? Hear they can travel 50km a day?? Google Lens telling me this is a desert locust pic.twitter.com/1heJLQfSxU
— Kiprono (@kipjongil) February 19, 2020
Ladies and gentlemen just spotted a locust in our offices at Westlands and it is safe to say the locusts are in Nairobi. pic.twitter.com/VVCWBRmBcR
— Beryl Onyango (@onyango_beryl) February 17, 2020
Meanwhile, somewhere in Nairobi… pic.twitter.com/I6Jw47WPjK
— Nanjala Nyabola (@Nanjala1) February 19, 2020
Unfortunately, the locusts continue to spread with seeming no pause. Now, they are present in about 20 counties (and counting) in Kenya. While the Agriculture ministry has put in place measures to curb the spread, it seems to not be acting fast enough or effectively enough. Desert locusts reproduce fast. Therefore acting fast needs to be a priority.
Moreover, this comes at a time when there are also reports that they have now been spotted in South Sudan. Already, they are present in Tanzania and had also been spotted in Uganda.
The counties in Kenya affected by the locusts are ;
6. Tana River
17. Elgeyo Marakwet
18. West Pokot