Fear in Kilifi as locusts invade county

A swarm of desert locusts. Farmers in Kilifi County now fear for their crops following the ongoing desert locusts invasion in the region./COURTESY

Farmers in Kilifi County want urgent action taken to get rid of desert locusts that have invaded the county.

The farmers now fear that the locusts, that have invaded their farms amid the COVID-19 pandemic, might cause major havoc if swift action is not taken.

Christine Jumwa, a resident of Thoroweni village in Magarini, said the locusts invaded her farm on Wednesday morning and had spread out through the whole farm by evening.

She said the locusts did not do much destruction, but fears that that might not be the case if the locusts, which she managed to chase, returned.

”The Government should act very fast before these locusts destroy our crops, we are worried,” she said.

Marafa Ward Member of County Assembly Renson Kambi said the locusts also invaded his pineapples and watermelon farm.

His biggest worry being the 22 acres of watermelon which are still at a young stage, saying that he would suffer a great loss if locusts destroyed it.

Meanwhile, the Kilifi County government dispatched five teams to all the 35 wards for surveillance and to identify the type of locusts being witnessed.

Agriculture and Livestock Chief officer Fredrick Kaingu who was in one of the surveillance teams said the kind of locusts that have invaded the county is called Schistocerca gregaria locusts which are highly migrating locusts.

Kaingu said the locusts entered the county through the northwest in Magarini at Adu ward, before moving to Langobaya, Ganze in Sokoke ward at a place called Mwariandinda, after which they moved to Bomani in Kilifi south and Mtepeni.

‘The hopper is the very destructive stage of the life cycle, currently, we have the adults which are in Kilifi county but these are not very destructive, but in two weeks time if they lay the eggs they will hatch and will have the hoppers which will destroy,” he said.

Reports indicate that the locusts have affected five sub-counties including Magarini, Malindi, Ganze, Kaloleni, and Kilifi South.