Thousands of farmers in Meru county are counting huge losses as desert locusts are ravaging their farms daily. The locusts come at a time when most of the produce grown in eastern Kenya is ready to be harvested. These farmers are among hundreds of thousands from 14 other Kenyan counties who are affected by a second wave of the locust plague that is two times deadlier than the one that hit Kenya in 2020.
The government said it deployed spray and surveillance aircraft to help deal with the pest and noted it has enough resources and is better prepared than in 2020 to fight.
Agriculture Minister Peter Munya told reporters that more than 75 swarms have been reported in Kenya. “We cannot fight locusts in Somalia and Ethiopia where they are thriving. All we can do is fight them in Kenya, as they breed in Kenya, it should be noted that the war against locusts might last until June,” he told aa.com.tr.
With a budget estimate of 3.2 billion shillings ($30 million) set aside to combat the second wave, Munya said Kenya is well-equipped to fight the swarms and promised that in counties where livelihoods have been affected, the government will step in and offer crop and livestock intervention which include distribution of seeds and cereals, clean water and fertilizers among others.
At the Mulika market in Tigania, residents complain that even though the government has assured that everything will be okay, there are food shortages already.