The end of April brought about an alarm for farmers all over Africa. An outbreak of the deadly African armyworm is ongoing on 33 countries with over 500,000 acres of crop and pasture destroyed collectively.
Needless to say this has been horrifying to farmers but to the state of food security across the continent.
Dr Francis Owino, PS from the State Department for Crops Development and Research spoke on the newly formed Strategic Plan on Management of Trans-Boundary pests that allowed the government to remain on top of things during this invasion.
County governments, Agro-Chemicals Association of Kenya and the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) are working together to contain the situation.
Recently in Kisumu, County Commissioners, County Executive Committee Members and Crops Officers from affected counties spoke on the matter. Dr Owino highlighted the response mechanism in place was key in containing the invasion of armyworms.
The Cross Border Pests Management Strategy launched in February this year and was created for a situation exactly like this.
“Based on the experiences we had with desert locust management, we felt it was necessary to begin with capacity building. Reporting on information from the field using the right tools, is the primary way of dealing with these insects,” he said.
The African armyworms do the most damage to cereals like maize, wheat, sorghum, millet and rice. Additionally, they eat pasture grass which directly affects livestock production.
The AAK CEO Erick Kimungui requests awareness creation to improve the fight against the armyworm.
Furthermore, the AAK is training youths to crop spray via motorized aid to work parallel with government efforts.