The newly appointed Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture Peter Munya says that it will take at least six months to control locusts.
Speaking on Monday in the wake of reports indicating fresh invasions in Embu and Tana Riva, the CS said more swarms of locusts were still arriving from Somalia and Yemen.
Kenya now stares at a food crisis as the locust invasion highlights a threat to food security as Kenya’s breadbasket regions prepare for main crop season starting March.
CS Munya also cited lack of an effective chemical in the local market, adding that the fight against the insect has been slowed down by the with long procurement and import bureaucracies.
“It will not be easy to fight these locusts and we anticipate the earliest that we can bring them under control is in the next six months,” said Mr Munya.
Mr Munya said the situation had been worsened by the lapses in handling the locust threat when they were first spotted in northern Kenya.
“I must say there were lapses and slow response in handling the menace when it broke out, this is the reason why it will talk to bring it to total control,” he said.
An alert on the impending invasion of locusts was issued in February last year by the UN-Food Agricultural Organisation after they were reported in Yemen.
The locusts then spread to Somali, Ethiopia and Eritrea and then to Kenya on December 28.
The government and the Desert Locust Control Organisation of East Africa have been working to provide aerial spraying to control the locusts.
Mr Munya made the remarks Monday when he flagged off 26 vehicles for Kenya Climate Smart Agricultural Project to the counties, which are aimed at helping the devolved units mitigate the effects of climate change.
The Cabinet Secretary said they are adding four more aircraft to help and fight the insects that have been spreading very first to now ravage key crop areas like Meru and Embu.
Entomologists had warned this month that it would be difficult to control the ongoing locust menace as Somalia, where the insects first emanated is not controlling the insects.
Kenyan Business Feed is the top Kenyan Business Blog. We share news from Kenya and across the region. To contact us with any alert, please email us to [email protected]