Government deploys experts to contain locust invasion

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Plagues of desert locusts have threatened agricultural production in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia for centuries
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The government has stepped up efforts to mitigate the desert locust invasion that has affected eight counties.

In a statement, Government Spokesman Col(Rtd) Cyrus Oguna said the infestation has caused serious damage to vegetation in the affected counties including, Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, Garissa, Isiolo, Meru, Samburu and Laikipia, with neighbouring counties are under threat.

He noted that the invasion is a threat to pasture for livestock, food security and could impact livelihoods negatively.

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“The pests are a serious threat to food security in the country and require concerted effort to address. The Government has so far up-scaled efforts to combat the invasion and contain the situation thereby preventing any further spread to other regions” he said.

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The government has embarked on the use of experts drawn from the University of Nairobi, the Ministry of Agriculture, FAO, ICIPE, among others.

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He said the experts have been deployed to the affected areas to train and mobilize the county teams to undertake monitoring and surveillance of the swarms.

Seven spraying aircrafts and two surveillance helicopters have been deployed for the operation.

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Oguna urged the public to be vigilant and to report to the nearest government officials whenever the pest is sighted.

“Every effort is being made to have an additional aircraft for surveillance and logistical support on the ground to undertake sustained spraying operations and to limit the spread of the pests,” Oguna said.

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