The latest surge of locust swarms in West Pokot County could catalyze a food shortage. Vast areas of maize and beans crops in Pokot North and Pokot Central have been devoured, prompting alarm among locals. Invasion by these insects in Sigor Constituency’s Weiwei and Lomut wards has led to the devastation of various crops, including peanuts and mangoes, as well as the surrounding vegetation.
Farmers have attempted to fight off the locusts using rudimentary methods like twigs, but these efforts have proven futile, failing to halt the destruction of food crops and pasture. Alfred Longronyang, the Agriculture and Livestock Executive of West Pokot, reassured locals that quick action is being taken to manage the situation. He disclosed plans for an imminent aerial spray, even though significant destruction of maize and bean fields has already occurred.
“Crops like peanuts and mango trees have been severely affected; the locusts continue to migrate and cause damage. We are likely to face a food scarcity due to a combination of locust destruction and unreliable rainfall, which threatens the most vulnerable with potential starvation,” he warned.
In an effort to control the situation, Longronyang expressed the need for more spray planes to support ground agriculture officers already using handheld sprayers. He added that this crisis is particularly disappointing for farmers who had hoped for a bountiful harvest following government provision of maize seeds and subsidized fertilizer. The official pointed out the pastoral community’s ongoing shift from livestock rearing to cash crop farming.