Spraying of locusts ravaging muguka farms in Embu starts

Wednesday March 18 2020
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An aircraft on January 27, 2020 spraying desert locusts which have invaded Embu County. The most affected villages are Kiambere, Mavuria and Mariari. PHOTO | GEORGE MUNENE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By GEORGE MUNENE

The aerial spraying of swarms of desert locusts which have invaded Embu County has begun.

Aircraft doing the aerial sprays and personnel from the Ministry of Agriculture were on Saturday evening dispatched to Mbeere South where the insects are wreaking havoc on muguka farms.

According to Mbeere South Deputy County Commissioner Charles Igiha, the government is determined to ensure the locusts do not spread to other areas in the region.

EFFECTIVE

He said the spraying is quite effective and assured the residents that the insects will be fully controlled.

"The government has responded very fast and there should be no cause for alarm," said Mr Igiha.

Locusts crossed the Kitui border on Friday and landed in Mbeere, throwing residents into panic.

The locusts first invaded Kiambere and Mutuavare villages where they fed on crops and pasture.

They then spread to Mariari and Mavuria villages where the muguka stimulant is grown on a large scale.

Following the invasion, desperate farmers used pepper smoke to try and chase away the insects.

However, the residents complained that the traditional method of expelling the voracious feeders was not working and appealed for assistance from the government.

AGRICULTURE

The residents said they depend on agriculture for survival and warned they will suffer if urgent measures to eradicate locusts are not taken.

Speaking on Monday, Kiambere MCA Lenny Masters Mwaniki said he was happy following the quick response by the government.

"The aircraft is here and spraying is going on well. Initially, my people were worried when they saw millions of locusts ravaging their crops but now they are relieved," said Mr Mwaniki.

Mbeere South MP Geoffrey King’ang'i urged the government to ensure that those involved in the spraying don't leave until all the affected areas are covered.

"The locusts are so many and the officers should not leave until they are controlled," he said.