Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has declared the Mealybugs invasion in the County an emergency and directed agricultural officers to put in motion measures to halt the spread of the pest to ensure food security.
Governor Njuki directed personnel in the agriculture department in the county to move to the ground and train farmers on the appropriate chemicals to be used to control the pest to escape crop loss and possible food crisis.
“I have declared an emergency in Tharaka Nithi. I do not want to hear of any agricultural officer in the county idling in town when our farmers continue to be terrorised by these worms. As from Monday I want to hear of barazas day to day educating our people on how to combat the disaster to evade a famine,” said the governor.
Speaking at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Mukothima in Tharaka Constituency on Sunday Njuki, further called on farmers to turn up in big numbers once such barazas are convened to enable them learn the effective ways and pesticides to spray the mealybugs.
He said if the dangerous pests continue to destroy the crops in the farms, the situation is likely to lead to a famine similar to the one experienced in 1984 when people died of hunger despite having money because there were no foodstuffs to be purchased.
Farmers have been complaining that the new pest is devouring literally all crops but mostly maize, paw paws and even fodder and added the infestation has worsened the pain inflicted on them by the late and unreliable long rains this year.
During the event Njuki meanwhile disclosed that the county government has prioritized the construction of a modern market, supply of water, tarmacking of roads and the construction of a health centre in Mukothima market.
“The county budget office has set aside Sh10 million to start the construction of Mukothima Health Centre that will have a maternity, pediatrician and special dental and optic clinics besides Sh 5 million for construction of a modern market,” said the governor.
He said in the next five years his government will have tarmacked the Mukothima-Gatithine and Mukothima-Miomboni roads.