Biological Hazard in Kenya on April 12 2018 04:28 AM (UTC).
A fall armyworm invasion has destroyed more than 17,000 acres of maize. A report by the County Department of Agriculture released yesterday indicated that the pest had destroyed 30 per cent of the region's projected harvest. The invasion has also been reported in parts of Uasin Gishu County, where the agriculture department has set up an emergency phone number - 07024269040 - for farmers to report any armyworm sightings. "We have received reports of fall armyworm invasion in Turbo, Ngenyilel, Kamagut and Tapsagoi. Farmers should report any sighting to agricultural officials through a hotline provided," said Director for Agriculture Joseph Cheboi. In Kisumu, Agriculture Executive Gilchrist Okuom yesterday confirmed that agricultural officers had been dispatched to farms to help fight the pests. Nyakach sub-county is the most affected, with 4,500 acres of crops, which represents 40 per cent of the total farms under crops, affected. Other areas affected include Muhoroni (4,100 acres) and Seme, which lost 3,700 acres. In Nyando sub-county, 1,610 acres have been affected. The least affected is Kisumu East, where the worm has ravaged 950 acres. "We have rolled out a number of measures to counter the worms, which include a continuous farmer sensitisation and training in how to identify and control the pest," said Mr Okuom. Farmers across the region expressed their alarm and frustration as the pest swept through their farms, leaving a trail of destruction. "Some parts of my farm are totally destroyed and I do not expect any harvest," said Jane Kisia, a farmer in Korowe in Nyando She said she had used pesticides twice within a span of two weeks on her two-acre farm, which was invaded by the worms three weeks ago, and had seen little or no change. "I suspect the worms are becoming resistant to some of these chemicals," she said. Other farmers have lost hope, leaving their crops at the mercy of the worms. "From the damage I can see on my crops, there is no need to invest any more money as it is evident that I will not get any harvest," said Samwel Ouma, a farmer in Muhoroni.The damage caused by the worms is another blow for farmers who are still recovering from the impact of floods that swept away some of their crops. A report from the agriculture department indicates that 258 acres of crop, mostly in Nyakach, were destroyed following a downpour in the area. The most affected crops were cereals and vegetables.