Several maize farmers are counting losses after their farms were invaded by army worms in West Pokot County.
Desperate farmers are opting for traditional ways to control the spread that has affected Chepkobe, Siyoi, Kaprech, Kaibos and Mnagei areas.
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According to County Chief Officer for Agriculture, John Karita, the county government had bought pesticides but it was inadequate for distribution.
"We have told the farmers to report to our offices for assistance, but we are struggling to acquire adequate pesticides but we are limited by resources. We have heard that farmers are using ash, pepper and detergents to combat the worms," he said.
Farmers from Kaikai village, Chepareria ward led by Jackson Ariangaro said they stare at hunger for the second year running following the invasion by the destructive pest.
Ariangaro said last year, he harvested two bags from three acres of land he planted after the farm was invaded by army worms.
“The little cash I had I used to buy farm inputs I have no cash to buy insecticides to spray the crops,” he said.
“I have resorted to applying soil on affected parts of the plant to block the worms from finishing the whole plant,” he said.
Ariangiro added that the measures have not helped much but but he has no alternative.
“The soil compresses the insect inside the crop hence killing it slowly,” he said.
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Priscilla Yaran another farmer said she had resorted to mixing washing detergents and water and pouring it on affected plants.
“I buy several detergents, mix it with pepper then sprinkle on affected crops. Even though it is not killing the worms completely but the rate at which they had invaded my farm has drastically reduced,” she said.
Another farmer Musa Lokira said that cases of starvation are going increase in the county if urgent measures are not put in place to contain the situation.
“The government needs to help us so that we can help us make this county to be food secure and stop depending on relief food,” he said.
The small scale farmers want national and county governments to come to their rescue.