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State has abandoned fight against locusts, MCAs say

Sunday March 22 2020
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Some of the desert locusts which have invaded sorghum farms at Kiambere, Embu County. MCAs from the region now say that the government has abandoned the fight against the ravenous insects. PHOTO | GEORGE MUNENE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By GEORGE MUNENE

Ward representatives in Embu have expressed their disappointment with the national government, saying it has neglected the desert locusts menace that continues to ravage the county three months after the insects’ first sighting.

Kagaari South MCA Robert Ireri revealed that the insects have now invaded tea plantations in Kyeni North Ward, yet the government seems not concerned about fighting them.

He said it is ironical for the government to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, yet it has failed to effectively deal with insects that can be seen with the naked eye.

NO GOODWILL

The MCAs said the lack of goodwill exhibited by the government shows how unprepared the country is in dealing with disasters of a national magnitude.

Mr Ireri added that for operations like the Covid-19 screening, testing and treatment to bear fruit, it will take concerted efforts and commitment from State personnel as opposed to lip service.

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Evurore MCA Duncan Mbui echoed the sentiments, adding that the locusts have invaded Kavengero and Karigiri villages in his ward after crossing from Kathunguri and Kigumo in the neighbouring Kyeni South Ward.

EATING LOCUSTS

He said locals have resorted to eating the locusts since the government has abandoned efforts to eradicate them.

Mr Mbui lamented over what he termed as lopsided priorities by the national government, blaming Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya of being aloof and indifferent to the plight of farmers who are in desperate need of government services.

The MCA further warned that the locusts menace should not be treated as a non-issue in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, stating that the matter is still serious.

He also observed that the desert locusts have mutated and started living in the highland regions of the county and are totally resistant to noises that used to ward them off in the past, a scenario that he said ought to elicit concern from the Ministry of Agriculture because the planting season is drawing nearer, yet farmers are not sure if their crops will survive the hungry insects.

Mr Mbui lambasted the government for failing to research on the behaviour of locusts and refuted CS Munya’s assertion that his ministry has dealt with the invasion conclusively.

He said State resources have gone to waste yet Kenyans cannot see any results.

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