FARMERS IN KENYA’S TURKANA COUNTY FEAR CROP LOSSES FROM ATTACK BY LOCUSTS

NAIROBI– Farmers in Turkana County in the northwestern corner of Kenya are facing yet another season of crop failure following an infestation by locusts on their farms.

The local farmers, who are appealing for timely intervention by the government, say the locusts are devouring all green plants in their path.

Turkana County has been in the throes of a food shortage occasioned by years and seasons of poor weather and drought and the invasion by the locusts threaten to further undermine what the residents had hoped would be a recovery following the heavy rainfall which has been pounding several areas of the country.

The locusts, a species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae, which have a swarming phase, are usually solitary, but under certain circumstances they become more abundant under suitable conditions of drought followed by rapid vegetation growth like what it is being seen in Turkana County.

The adult locusts are powerful fliers which travel great distances although they migrate only a few kilometres each day, basking in the early morning sun until their body temperature rises to a level which allows them to move off and eat all the vegetation in their path.

A medium-sized swarm may contain a billion locusts and cover an area of 20 square kilometres, consuming more than 3,000 tonnes of vegetation, including agricultural crops, stripping off leaves and edible stems.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK