Watermelon farmers in Sangach in Marakwet East have decried invasion of fruit flies in their farms destroying mature fruits that were ready for the market.
The pests borrow in to the fruits and destroy the flesh and eventually the fruits rot at the farm.
The farmers led by Ben Kemboi, speaking at their farms in Kerio Valley said the fruit fly has been a menace to watermelon farmers who are now counting losses after the pests destroyed their melons.
“Look at what the flies have done to my fruits,” Kemboi pondered , showing some of the rotten fruits at his farm he continued, my fruits are to be transported to the market today but looks like I will only harvest half of it,” he said.
He added that the farmers normally earn up to Sh 400,000 per acre but with the invasion of fruit flies, he will not break-even which might affect his farming activities.
Kemboi called on the County Government to chip in and assist the farmers in controlling the fruit fly menace to enable them realize profits in their farming business.
Benjamin Sum, Agricultural Extension Officer-In-Charge of Endoo Ward in Marakwet East said he has visited the farms, he confirmed that fruit flies are wrecking havoc at the Watermelon farms in Sangach area.
He said almost half of Watermelon fruits have been destroyed by fruit flies but he was going to train farmers on how to trap the flies to avoid the destruction in future.
Describing how the fruit fly destroys the fruits, he said it’s hard to know from outside since the fly burrows into the fruit and may not be visible outside until the fruit rots.
“Female adult fruit fly lays eggs on the flesh of the ripening flesh and once the eggs hatch, the larvae begin to feed within the fruit making it soft and mushy,” he explained.