The County Government of Kisii is on high alert over a possible desert locust invasion with authorities now advising farmers to harvest their crops to avoid losses, barely two days after a swarm of locusts invaded neighbouring Kisumu County.
In a statement on Wednesday, County Agriculture Executive Esman Onsarigo asked residents to immediately report to the administrative offices once they spot the insects.
“We have noted with great concern the arrival of the dreaded locusts within our vicinity and, with the on-going containment efforts in Kisumu, I wish to warn our people that the locusts might be forced to migrate to other areas including Kisii,” he said.
The county government said it had enhanced surveillance and sought the necessary support from other quarters.
Mr Onsarigo noted that in case of an invasion, the insects are likely to cause huge losses because a majority of locals depend entirely on agriculture.
He spoke as Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o said the insects, which have invaded Muhoroni in Kisumu, do not exhibit swarm characteristics of the desert locust.
According to Prof Nyong’o, a team of experts from the county government, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) visited the affected farms and confirmed the presence of the insects.
The team collected and tested the same.
“My government dispatched a team on Tuesday to the affected farms in Wang'aya 1 Sub-Location in Masogo/Nyan’g ward. Going by the findings, indeed there were grasshoppers in two sugarcane farms," the governor said in a statement.
The statement noted that yesterday morning, a team of Kalro and Kephis officials also went to the same farm for further assessment.
The governor said Kalro and Kephis recommended farmers to spray Ranger 480C insecticide to clear the grasshoppers.
The county government has scheduled spraying of the affected sites this weekend to decimate the locusts' eggs.
The governor spoke as rice farmers in Kisumu urged both the county and national governments to fast-track response to the locust menace.
West Kano Irrigation Scheme chairman George Okaka said should the locust swarms invade the paddy, farmers who depend on the cash crop for a livelihood will suffer.
“County officers should give us a full report on the insects,” said Mr Okoko.
Another locust invasion was reported in Kokendo Village, Migori County, where farmers now live in fear.