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Armyworms: Budalang'i, Kisumu farmers stare at losses

Tuesday May 21 2019

Fall armyworm

A farmer shows a maize plant that has been attacked by fall armyworms on May 6, 2019. Maize farmers in Kisumu County have been warned of fresh fall armyworm attack. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ELIZABETH OJINA
By ELIZABETH OJINA
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GAITANO PESSA
By GAITANO PESSA
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Maize farmers in Kisumu and Busia counties are staring at huge loses following Fall armyworm invasion.

Already farmers in Muhoroni and their counterparts in Budalang'i say their farms have been invaded by the pest. Mr Charles Omondi, a Muhoroni-based farmer says the pest continues to destroy his maize farm despite applying pesticides.

LOST HOPE

“With the Fall armyworm infestation, I have lost hope. With the help of county agricultural officers, we have sprayed the maize fields but the pests are still destroying the crops,” Mr Omondi told Nation.co.ke.

Kisumu County Director for Agriculture Sylvester Oketch says that although farmers have been trained on how to handle the pest, the county does not have adequate chemicals to control the pest.

“Most of the farmers are using their own resources which is inadequate,” said Mr Oketch.

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BUY CHEMICALS

He added: “We can hardly buy chemicals for even five per cent of the farmers. However, we advising them to use Profen [an insect juvenile hormone analogue that inhibits insect maturation processes] and Marshal chemicals to control the pest.”

Farmers have been asked to identify the infected plants and alert agricultural officers. Mr Oketch has advised farmers to plant early and use chemicals to control the pest.

LOSSES

In Busia County, over 2,000 farmers in Bunyala said they have incurred huge losses in the past three years due to pest invasion.

“We were very lucky to receive early rains compared to other parts of the country. This raised our hopes for a bumper harvest until our crops were invaded by Fall army worms,” Mr Nicholas Mukudi said on Tuesday.

The farmers have appealed to the county and national governments to intervene by supplying them with pesticides to effectively deal with the perennial pest invasion.

“We tried spraying our farms at night but still the worms have continued to mess us up, we need a lasting solution. Last season, we experienced the same but somehow there was a lot of rain that dealt the pests a blow,” Mr Mukudi added.

15 VILLAGES

Ruambwa village unit administrator Jentrix Anyango said at least 15 villages including California, Naira, Namalo A and B, Namalo Mulukoba Busweti, Lwakhanga A and B, Nambengele and Sirimba have been affected.

“We are in dire need of help and I call upon relevant departments to come to the rescue of our farmers who have tried spraying their crop with different pesticides without success. This is the third year we are experiencing the pest invasion,” she said.

The national government has already warned that this year’s crop will be affected due to delayed rains. The most affected crops are maize and sorghum.

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