The ongoing locust invasion poses a threat to the country’s food security with the expected damage in main production areas raising fear of maize shortage this year. Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said there was a high likelihood for these insects, which have invaded the country since December, to damage the young maize crop in the field.
Several counties are battling new desert locust invasions despite the ongoing spraying of hatchlings …. Farmers have urged the government to spray the locusts and compensate those who have incurred huge losses. Seed growers, including Kenya Seed Company, have halted work amid the coronavirus onslaught.
After desert locusts invaded her farm in central Kenya, Mary Muthoni, 61, ran around her maize fields shouting and banging on an old iron sheet in a desperate attempt to drive them away. “They came here yesterday evening and sat on top of these trees as though to rest there for the night,” said the mother of seven, who lives in Mahiga-Meru village in Laikipia County.
Insurers in Kenya are yet to put together a policy that can cushion farmers against losses from desert locusts currently ravaging parts of the country. Farmers in the Rift Valley and Western regions of Kenya are currently preparing for the planting season, which could largely be impacted by the invasion of desert locusts.
Retired army officer Francis Mugwika has fought and won many battles. But he has lost the fight against locusts not once, not twice, but thrice in just two months. This past week we found an inconsolable Mr. Mugwika on his 12-acre farm in the rocky Kathuri hamlet in Tharaka North. His green grams and millet were first attacked in early January.
Even before the current locust onslaught, Kenya’s strategic food position was precarious, particularly with respect to three of our main staples: wheat, maize, and rice. Further to that, we need to import over a quarter of our sugar needs and there is a lot of inward cross border traffic of onions and other vegetables and fruits.
Kenya plans to take insurance against droughts and floods amid changing weather patterns that are increasingly threatening the country’s food security. The country is set to restart paying premiums next month to the Africa Risk Capacity (ARC), an insurance agency of the African Union that helps member countries mitigate against natural calamities such as floods and drought.
Mt Kenya region is expected to suffer from its staple maize shortage following excessive rains that continue to pound the country, delaying harvesting and triggering aflatoxin contamination, several county ministers of agriculture have said. In Kirinyaga, Embu, Nyandarua, Murang’a and Meru, maize is yet to be harvested as farmers await rains to ease, but that appears not to be happening.
The United Nations is to test drones equipped with mapping sensors and atomizers to spray pesticides in parts of east Africa battling an invasion of desert locusts that are ravaging crops and exacerbating a hunger crisis. Hundreds of millions of the voracious insects have swept across Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya in what the U.N. has called the worst outbreak in a quarter of a century, with Uganda, Eritrea and Djibouti also affected.
According to Livestock Research for Rural Development (LRRD), dairy farming is the single largest sub-sector of agriculture in Kenya. Kenya’s dairy sub-sector contributes about 8% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with annual milk production of 3.43 billion L. Although smallholder Dairy farmers make up to 80% of total dairy producers and produce 56% of total milk in Kenya.
Nyandarua farmers are counting huge losses caused by the ongoing rains, posing a food security threat in one of the country’s food baskets. The most affected is maize which is ripe for harvest and is now rotting in farms. Maize farming is a second most important agricultural activity in the region after Irish potatoes.
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