Farmers using ash and sand to tame army worms spread

A fall army worm at one of the maize crop belonging to Solomon Anyiga i at Kamungeny village in Rongai sub-county on May 15,2017.Photo: KIPSANG JOSEPH

A section of farmers in Nakuru have resorted to traditional methods of dealing with army worms, a deadly pest that has invaded large swathes of land, causing devastation to farmers.

John Sialo, who owns a five-acre land in Rongai, told The Standard that he uses ash and sand to control breeding and finally kill the worms.

According to Mr Sialo, the method has helped control invasion in his farm and in his children's farms.

"I mix sand and ash to make a mixture that my family and I use to control the invasion that has been spreading very fast. The worms were spreading at a high rate from one farm to another because there was no way of controlling them," said Sialo.

The mixture, which was used by farmers to control crop diseases in the older days, is mixed in a ratio of one to two, with the sand being the most.

With the help of his family members, the father of nine makes enough mixture to cater for maize plantation in his piece of land.

"I mix one bucket of ash with two buckets of sand. I have to do it in shifts so as to prepare enough for the entire farm," said Sialo.

The mixture is then applied to the maize funnel at knee height.

According to a research by International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, ash is alkaline and therefore useful as a fungicide and a pesticide.

Insects that come into contact with wood ash are burned and killed.

The research stated sand contains moisture and high micro-organism concentrations that help to reduce the larvae of the pests before they mature.

County Agriculture executive Stanley Chepkwony said they had advised farmers to purchase pesticides.


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