Farmers at the Langobaya irrigation scheme along the Sabaki river in Malindi are counting losses and staring at a looming food insecurity crisis after an arson attack left their farming equipment destroyed.
The farmers claim a farmhand employed in one of the farms carried out the attack in an effort to ‘exorcise demons’ from generators used by farmers in the Langobaya irrigation scheme located along the Sabaki river basin.
“The arsonist claimed the generators that pumped water from the river to irrigate farms were associated with demons and that God had sent him to burn them.” Rehema Kitsao, one of the farmers said.
Seven houses, six generators, fertilizers, spraying, and farming equipment all believed to have a cumulative worth of sh 2 million was destroyed in the process.
A seventh generator is still missing and is believed to have been plunged into the crocodile and hippo infested river.
A food insecurity crisis is already looming in the area as maize and other horticultural crops have already begun to wither due to lack of water.
According to Kitsao, the equipment was donated to them by the current devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa together with former CS Dan Kazungu to help them conduct irrigation farming along the riverine.
”The Government officials came in 2016 and distributed these machines and we started irrigation, for sure they were of great assistance to us but currently, we don’t know what to do as our crops were about to mature but since there are no generators they have begun to wither” She said.
Anderson Kithi Thoya another farmer said his store had been reduced to ashes.
”My store had three generators, three sacks of fertilizers, spraying machines, Jembes, pangas, and food all which were razed to the ground during the attack” he said.
Thoya added that the farmers had suspected the attacker was ailing a mental health illness but they used to coexist with him peacefully.
Samson Sirya Thoya another farmer said his three-acre farm now is also drying as the crops have not been watered for weeks.
Thoya lost two machines, fertilizers, and does not know how to begin work again since it’s impossible to irrigate his farm without the generators to pump water.
The farmers are now calling on the government to intervene as they cannot afford to buy new ones during the pandemic.
The suspect is currently being held at the Langobaya police station.