Watermelon farmers decry invasion of fruit fly in farms

Watermelon farmers in Sangach in Marakwet East have decried invasion of fruit flies in their farms that are destroying mature fruits.

The pests borrow in to the fruits and destroy the flesh and eventually the fruits rot at the farm.

The farmers led by Ben Kemboi, speaking at their farms in Kerio Valley said the fruit fly has been a menace to watermelon farmers who counting losses after the pests destroyed the melons.

Look at what the flies have done to my fruits, Kemboi pondered , showing some of the rotten fruits at his farm. He continued, my fruits are to be transported to the market today but looks like I will only harvest half of it, he said.

He added that the farmers normally earn up to Sh 400,000 per acre but with the invasion of fruit flies, he will not break-even which might affect his farming activities.

Kemboi called on the County Government to chip in and assist the farmers in controlling the fruit fly menace to enable them realize profits in their farming business.

Benjamin Sum, Agricultural Extension Officer-In-Charge of Endoo Ward in Marakwet East confirmed that fruit flies were wrecking havoc in Watermelon farms in Sangach area.

He said almost half of Watermelon fruits had been destroyed by fruit flies and added that he would train farmers on how to trap the flies to avoid destruction in future.

Female adult fruit fly lays eggs on the flesh of the ripening flesh and once the eggs hatch, the larvae begin to feed within the fruit making it soft and mushy, he explained.

Source: Kenya News Agency