Why locust invasion threatens cows: MP

By Paul Mwaniki On Sun, 26 Jan, 2020 13:01 | 2 mins read
Ministry of Agriculture Principal Secretary (PS) Prof. Hamadi Boga now says by end of June or July, Kenya will be locust-free. [PHOTO | FILE]
Ministry of Agriculture Principal Secretary (PS) Prof. Hamadi Boga now says by end of June or July, Kenya will be locust-free. [PHOTO | FILE]

Laikipia North MP Sarah Korere has warned that the locust invasion is set to hit hard the livestock sector in northern Kenya if the insects aren’t tamed.

Locusts are known to eat forbs and grass and MP Korere warned that they threaten to clear livestock pasture in the expansive plains in Laikipia.

Ms Korere faulted the govt, accusing it failing to take enough urgent measures to fight the insects despite warnings by the United Nations that the locusts will continue to move inward.

Further, Korere said that though the insects have not invaded Kenya’s food basket counties yet, pastoralists who depend on cattle will be left with no pasture if the locusts are not fought with all means.

She noted that herders expected a productive year following ample long rains in 2019 but locusts have already devoured large tracts of grazing grounds.

Ms Korere said the joint aerial spraying by the government and private ranchers in Laikipia, Samburu and Isiolo counties has been plagued by miscommunication.

Reports indicate that new swarms of locusts are entering Kenya from Somalia. The Food and Agricultural Organisation has warned that it might take up to June to control the menace.

On Sunday, in a report published by America’s CBS News, a Kenyan farmer, Ndunda Makanga, said that even cows have been left stupefied by the large swarms of locusts sweeping through the land.

“Even cows are wondering what is happening,” said Ndunda Makanga, who spent hours on Friday, January 24, trying to chase the locusts from his farm. “Corn, sorghum, cowpeas, they have eaten everything.” 

CBS News reported the locust invasion is the worst outbreak to hit Kenya in 70 years, with hundreds of millions of the insects swarming from Somalia and Ethiopia.

A small swarm of the insects can eat enough food for 35,000 people in a single day, Jens Laerke of the U.N. humanitarian office in Geneva told CBS News.

Nonetheless, there was a bit of relief for farmers in Kitui County since most of the black-eyed peas and beans have already been harvested while the insects seem not interested in the maize stock which in Ukambani starts maturing in late January.

Additional Reporting by Joel Muinde

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