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Kenya to host desert locusts conference CS

Desert locusts plagued farms in several parts of Kenya. February 16, 2021. [David Gichuru,Standard]

Kenya will next year host the International Conference on Desert Locusts in a strategy to fight the menace.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi Thursday said the country was out to avert future desert locust invasions.

He said the government is ready to provide farmers with protection from future invasion by locusts.

The CS was speaking in Rome, Italy, after a consultative meeting with the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Duoyng, on the sidelines of the FAO Council meeting.

He said the government had fully operationalised the desert locusts early warning centre in Nairobi.

Linturi said the centre will help the government to detect early signs of an invasion by desert locusts and institute measures to avert disasters.

“With the desert locusts early warning centre now in place, courtesy of support from FAO, we now request the organisation to offer technical and financial support to Kenya in hosting the conference in March 2023,” Linturi said.

Kenya was invaded by desert locusts in 2020 leading, to the loss of crops in over 24 counties.

The CS told Dr Duoyng that President William Ruto’s administration had prioritised efforts to combat the effects of climate change and to end hunger in arid and semi-arid counties.  

Duoyng welcomed Kenya’s partnership in the transformation of the agriculture sector.

Linturi was accompanied by Council of Governors Agriculture Committee Chairman Ken Lusaka, Livestock Principal Secretary Hillary Kumutai and Kenya's Ambassador to Italy Jackline Yongo.