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Panic as locusts invade tea farms in Embu

Friday January 31 2020
Locusts

A swarm of locusts that invaded Kiambere and Mutuavale villages in Embu County, as pictured on January 25, 2020. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By GEORGE MUNENE

Panic gripped tea farmers in Embu after a swarm of locusts invaded the county on Thursday evening.   

The locusts were seen in Ndunduri, Manyata, Kathangariri and Gicherori villages where tea is grown in large scale.

However, farmers were relieved on Friday morning when they found that the locusts had disappeared without causing any damage due to cold weather.

CHILLY WEATHER

“The insects had to leave because they could not withstand the chilly weather. At first, we were shocked when the locusts invaded the area from Mount Kenya Forest and landed on our farms," a farmer told the Nation.

Area Assistant Chief Mbogo Mwaniki confirmed that the insects were spotted in the highlands at around 5.30pm on Thursday.

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“They briefly invaded the villages but migrated to warmer places because the climate here was not favourable for them,” he added.

The insects have already invaded the lower parts of Embu where the government is conducting aerial spraying.

NINE AIRCRAFT

On Thursday, the Government Spokesman, Col Cyrus Oguna, assured Mbeere South residents that the locusts will be controlled.

He told the residents at Machang'a and Masinga areas that the government had acquired nine aircraft to spray the insects in the area and other parts of the country.

"We are well equipped to deal with this menace and we shall succeed,” he said.

The locusts have destroyed more than 700 acres of crops and pastures in Mbeere. Residents appealed to the government to give them relief food.

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