The National government in Collaboration with the public and private partners has dispatched trained officers to more 33 counties to aid as a stepping up intervention for rapid response and timely control of African Armyworm in all the affected counties.
The trained youths across the counties will help as Spray Service Providers (SSP) to spray the pesticides for the farmers.
The emergency response to the African Armyworm outbreak is therefore necessary to avert a food and nutrition crisis in the country.
Speaking to media Dr. Francis Owino,PS State Department for Crops Development and Agricultural Research after launching the refresher training and field control operations on Africa armyworms said the African armyworm is a trans- national migratory pest of economic importance due to its high reproductive capacity, rapid development, high mobility and intensive feeding habit.
“Failure or delayed containment of this pest can potentially lead to 100% crop and pasture loss,” said Dr. Owino.
Dr. Owino adds that the invasion comes at a critical period when the country is in the main March-April maize planting season, which records the highest production of the crop in the country.
“This occurrence poses a great risk to more than 33 counties where over 500, acres of land under pasture and crops has already been affected with threats of further spread if measures for its control are not put in place in time,” the PS added.
Dr. Owino further pointed out that the other mechanisms the government will use to avert the effect of the African Armyworm includes: Dissemination of technical information materials, enhanced public awareness to farmers and the general public.
Enhanced real time data collection from the field to a centralized data centre at the ministry and lastly Installation and revival of African armyworm Early Warning System.
He noted that with the adequate capacity and experience from the desert locust outbreak in the county levels of government, they are confident that they will manage the current invasion within shortest time possible.
Earlier, in 2006, more than 1.5 million acres of pasture and 75,950 acres under cerial crops were infested by the African armyworm. Out of this 23,030 acres under cereals were effectively controlled and crop with monetery value of approximately ksh.235 million salvaged.
By Jacob Oluoch