Kenya says insecurity, poor infrastructure fuelling spread of desert locusts

Source: Xinhua| 2021-02-09 00:42:12|Editor: huaxia
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NAIROBI, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Ministry of Agriculture said Monday that insecurity in northern parts of the country alongside poor infrastructure is fuelling the spread of desert locusts.

Peter Munya, cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives said that insecurity in northeastern Kenyan counties of Mandera and Wajir is hampering aerial and ground spraying of the pests.

"This has allowed some swarms and swarmlets to seep through all the way to Isiolo and now Nyandarua, Tharaka Nithi and Nakuru counties," Munya said during a high-level emergency desert locust consultative meeting in Nairobi.

He said that poor infrastructure is a huge challenge, adding that some regions with swarms are hard to access due to lack of roads, gazetted forests, reserves and game parks.

Munya said that teams fighting desert locusts also lack storage and transportation facilities while poor communication with the public is undermining efforts to contain the pests.

He said that the government is in the process of developing a desert locust management strategy to address the menace in the long term since the locusts may be in the country for a longer period of time.

"Here in Kenya, desert locust invasion poses a serious threat to achievement of one of the pillars of Big Four Agenda - attainment of 100 percent food and nutrition security in the country," said Carla Mucavi, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Representative to Kenya said.

Mucavi said that FAO has intensified efforts to contain the pests within recession areas through preventive control.

She said that FAO will put additional effort into managing the second wave of the desert locusts through a regional strategic approach by setting up regional operational bases where affected counties are clustered.

So far, about 183 swarms have settled in the Kenya while 157 have been controlled, reflecting an 86 percent success rate in control efforts.

Kenya has deployed 11 aircrafts to help in spraying against the desert locusts. Enditem