Locust Invasion Targets Kenya’s Bread Basket
Locusts have returned to Kenya, prompting new fears for the maize and tea harvest in the country’s bread-basket region.
Locusts have returned to Kenya, prompting new fears for the maize and tea harvest in the country’s bread-basket region. Farmers have been waking up to find the insects eating their way through the crops, which farmers rely on to feed their families and for export. One farmer, Jackline Wambui, said she had been trying to chase the locusts away by banging sticks on the lids of cooking pots.
“I did not want the locusts to destroy my maize and bananas because I do not have another source of food,” she said.
“I do not have another method of getting rid of them.”
The Kenyan military has teamed up with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation in an attempt to stem the invasion. Teams have been spraying pesticides on some farms in order to try and control the situation. “When I saw these locusts swarming around my farm and my home, I was alarmed and concerned about what is going to happen to the tea harvest and our livelihood,” said another farmer, Elizabeth Wangui.
She explained that her tea plantation was her only source of income and she was very relieved that the authorities had sent pesticide sprayers to help. But local officials say more needs to be done. “I am afraid that my people or rather the people of my community might run short of food,” local county official Mary Mwatha told the Associated Press. “I am actually very afraid and am pleading for any assistance.” It follows last year’s locust outbreak in East Africa, which was the worst in the region for 70 years
(Image Credits: AP)
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