Farmers in Kangema and Maragua constituencies of Murang’a County are a worried lot after a pest suspected to the army worm worms invaded their crops, destroying them at a high rate.
The worms have destroyed maize crops, leaving entire crops withering mere days after the invasion by the worms.
Speaking to journalists who paid them a visit to the farms, the farmers lamented their fate, revealing that all efforts to arrest the invasion have been futile.
The farmers have used up to three different types of pesticides in a bid to exterminate the highly destructive worms, to no avail.
Farmer Evanson Irungu appealed to the government to step in and provide an effective pesticide that will save their crops by completely eliminating the worms whose identity is still unknown but which are suspected to be army worms.
“Kangema constituency had never been a victim of such invasion and has also never been part of supply of relief food but going by the invasion, residents might suffer from starvation in the next few months.” A dismayed Irungu says.
John Mwangi Ngurumo, also a farmer along the Mukungai River, lamented the alleged neglect by the government, leaving the farmers to find their own solutions to the worm invasion.
Another farmer, Mwangi Irungu, pointed out that he has visited the office of the Agricultural Officer in Kangema who are yet to visit the farms even after farmers raised their uproar.
Irungu is getting increasingly frustrated by the rate at which the worms are advancing unchecked, with huge losses in the near future for the farmers if the situation remains unhindered.
The farmers are facing financial ruin as a result of the heavy investment in seed, farm equipment and inputs that they made in the planting season, now that the financial returns expected from their harvests are in serious jeopardy.
The ‘epicenter’ of the worm invasion is in Kangema and Sabasaba areas of Maragua constituency.
In June, The ministry of agriculture availed 325 million shillings to finance extension services and pesticides in the 40 counties affected by the disastrous fall army worms.
The disastrous fall army worms were first reported in Western, North and South Rift regions before spreading to other regions of the country.
The pest has caused massive damage to crops like maize especially in the North Rift region, the food basket of the country.
In Nakuru County, some 70,000 hectares of farmland has been destroyed by the fall army worm.
It is estimated that about 800,000 hectares have been affected by the fall army worm.
According to researchers, the worms have now developed resistance to most of the available pesticides, adding more tribulations to the already dire situation.
Kenya is staring at a longer maize shortage period if the current infestation by Fall Army Worms in major maize producing regions is not dealt with promptly.