Mwende Kimanzi: ‘Planes started spraying as soon as locusts appeared but it was not enough’


Mwende Kimanzi: 'Planes started spraying as soon as locusts appeared but it was not enough'
Mwende Kimanzi, a farmer in Kyuso, Kitui County, where locusts invaded the farm. PHOTO | REUTERS

Mwende Kimanzi, a farmer in Kyuso, Kitui County, said planes started spraying as soon as the swarm of desert locusts appeared but it was not enough to save her crops.

The 38-year-old mother of three says the locusts landed in her fields two weeks ago.

Since then, she reveals that they have been eating their way through her sorghum, millet and lentils while she tries to chase them away.

Usually, she sells the lentils and keeps the rest for her family, but the locusts’ arrival in Kyuso means they could soon go hungry.

Farmers called the authorities as soon as the locusts arrived.

“The locusts appeared, and we called the authorities immediately. The aeroplanes started the spraying from that edge of the river. Some died, but the rest of the swarm moved to our farms.

“They destroyed everything here then. They have now moved to our homes. They are now laying eggs there,” Kimanzi said.

She has only managed to harvest one bag of millet and one bag of lentils since the locust invasion.

“The rest of the crops were all destroyed,” she said. “There is nothing left. We will still face hunger.”

The swarms, first sighted in December, have already destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of farmland in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

This is threatening food supplies in the worst locust invasion in 70 years.

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