Early this year, Mandera, Meru and Isiolo counties came under a desert locust invasion. Initial efforts to fight off the invasion were, to say the least, ineffectual.
The first attempt to scare away the insects using tear gas and bullets failed. That called for change of tack, but still the government seemed overwhelmed. Within a few days of aerial chemical spraying, the government ran out of requisite chemicals, and by then, there was a new threat of coronavirus.
Covid-19 forced the government to abandon everything else and concentrate on containing it. Attendant to that, there was a partial lockdown of the country that has caused a lot of devastation.
By channeling most of the resources and focusing its attention on fighting Covid-19, a lacuna was created that allowed the locusts to breed. As a result, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that Kenya is now a breeding ground for the locusts. That should worry us because it poses a serious threat to our already precarious food security, made worse by drought and erratic rainfall patterns.
FAO warns that Turkana and Marsabit counties are the new breeding grounds for the locusts. We cannot over-emphasise the fact that locusts cause a lot of devastation to crops and vegetation, and therefore are a threat to human and animal lives.
- 1 State should be ready for second locust invasion
- 2 FAO warns of second locust invasion wave
- 3 There are eco-friendly ways to battle locusts
- 4 Over 150,000 tonnes of cereals lost to locusts, says UN
It behooves the government to pull out all the stops to ensure these insects are eliminated once and for all. It is bad enough that most Kenyans have lost their means of livelihoods because of Covid-19. To compound their predicament with food shortages can only make matters worse for both individuals and the country.