Small holder farmers in Nakuru have been advised to enroll in crop insurance schemes as a way of cushioning themselves against effects of massive crop failure due to drought and pest infestation.
Crop protection Assistant Director Stanley Kipng’etich Kipkoech said insurance cover for subsistence crops like maize was significantly invaluable in mitigating hunger and losses that farmers incurred during dry spells when their crops fail.
He was speaking in Rongai Sub County on Wednesday during the delivery of 1, 500 liters of assorted pesticides to Nakuru County Government to distribute to maize farmers whose farms were adversely infested by the vicious maize fall army worm.
Kipng’etich said the State Department of Agriculture would be working with the 40 Counties affected by the worm on a Sh335 million programme geared towards providing joint extension services, pesticides and deliberate awareness campaigns aimed at eradicating the worm from some 200, 000 hectares affected by the worm. A total of 800, 000 hectares is potentially at risk of invasion.
As scientists report multiple levels of pesticide resistance of the worm, farmers are advised to spray their farms at dawn and dusk when the caterpillar is less active in order to achieve desired results.
He noted that it was only in Northern Kenyan counties where the invasion has not been reported, saying that every farmer in areas where the worm has been reported must take measures to stem further losses.
Kipng’etich noted that the chemicals were only a drop in the ocean and urged farmers to get more supplies from registered agro vet shops.
He said that Nakuru had reported invasion in 13, 000 of the total 77, 000 hectares in the county hence the need to contain the spread by spraying pesticides to kill the worms.
The director urged farmers to exercise extreme caution when handling the pesticides which he said were poisonous and posed a danger to users if not handled properly.
He called on them to use proper attire whenever handling pesticides that were classified as poisonous substances.
The director used the opportunity to urge maize farmers to continue seeking government extension services for appropriate pesticides to avoid falling victims to unscrupulous merchants, out to make capital of the worm infestation by selling substandard pesticides to desperate and unsuspecting farmers.
In his remarks, the County Agriculture Executive Mr. Stanley Chepkwony said that agriculture played an important role in the economy of Nakuru hence there was an urgent need to address any threats to it.
He urged residents to embrace agriculture as a viable option to earn a living saying that stereotypes about white collar jobs must end.
He noted that food security remained a major challenge in the country and there was an urgent need for stakeholders to come together and identify ways of ensuring improved food productivity.
Chepkwony expressed concern that Kenyans were more interested in trivial matters at the expense of serious matters affecting them.
The CEC was complaining about the low turnout by farmers to the event, adding that if it was a political meeting, residents would have turned out in large numbers.
Source: Kenya News Agency