Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba has urged the national government to procure pesticides which will enable farmers to deal with the fall armyworm invasion, following drastic losses in the County. This comes after complaints from many farmers whose farms have been affected.
The armyworms have also invaded farms in Endebess, Cherangany and Kiminini. Governor Khaemba said the government has failed to honour their promise, made by former Agriculture CS Willy Bett, who said efforts were being made to control the pest. He said the Agriculture Ministry is a devolved function but it’s still the national government’s prerogative to provide perticides.
However, he appealed to farmers to note the extent of the damage in their farms for the County governent to take appropriate action.
In Siuna village in Saboti Constituency, several farmers are counting losses following the attack on their farms. Emmanuel Sifuna is one of the farmers whose 10-acre farm has been affected, “The pests have really affected us and we are still contemplating how we can deal with this issue once and for all,” said Emmanuel Sifuna.
Sifuna revealed that he has tried to control the pest on his own, even to the extent of buying different pesticides but it’s been a futile exercise. “I’ve spent more than Kshs 20,000 just to purchase different pesticides but nothing has changed. I urge the government to intervene and deal with the situation or else I might lose lots of crops,” he said.
Furthermore, some farmers have decided to take matters into their own hands by using alternative means, including smearing their maize plantations with ash while others prefer using soap detergents, but predictably, nothing has changed.
Trans Nzoia County Agriculture CEC Mary Nzomo has appealed to farmers to use modern methods of pest control and even traditional methods to deal with the armyworms. She said the County administration has secured 40 pheromone traps to assist in surveillance and monitoring the pests’ behaviour, adding that they’ve already been placed in 25 wards.
Other leaders who have urged the government to intervene and salvage the situation include Trans Nzoia Woman Representative Janet Nangabo, Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny and Senator Micheal Mbito.