The government has moved to quell fears among members of the public that the fight against desert locusts has been neglected, even as the government focuses more on containing the possible spread of coronavirus.
Speaking in Isiolo during the Desert Locusts Master Trainers’ Workshop for agricultural officers drawn from 27 affected counties, the Administration Secretary in the State Department of Crop Development Harsama Kello noted that the fight against the dreaded insects was still ongoing, even as those engaged in the spraying exercise comply with regulations provided by the Ministry of Health to contain coronavirus.
Training of the officials which is set to end on 3rd April is being conducted in two shifts to ensure that social distancing is observed.
Harsama said that the department of Crop Development has made arrangements with the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government so that the personnel involved in the spraying of desert locusts are not affected by the dusk to dawn curfew that is being implemented.
“Both the virus and desert locusts are disasters that need urgent attention and commitment to ensure that they are contained within the shortest time possible,” he added.
He said that the training will enable the officials to recruit young people from the affected areas and also train them so that the government gets enough workforce to effectively control the locusts.
Harsama also noted that the second generation of the dreaded insects is already causing havoc on vegetation in several parts of the Country as eggs laid by the first generation have hatched into nymphs.
Isiolo, Samburu, Marsabit and Laikipia according to Harsama are still heavily affected.
Members of the public are being urged to report any presence of the desert locusts to authorities in order to have the trained personnel act on them as fast as possible.
He added that the government has also received ten vehicles from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) to help contain the locusts.
According to Harsama, the vehicles are equipped with vehicle-mounted sprayers and will be used in areas where the use of planes cannot be effective.