Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO has partnered with Kenya Government to address the Locust menace.
The partnership will see desert Locusts experts boost Government of Kenya’s capacity to
respond to the Desert Locust invasion by training 600 National Youth Service
(NYS) to increase ground surveillance measures in Kenya.
Speaking at the National Youth Service College in Gilgil on Thursday during the opening of the training workshop FAO Country Representative Mr.Tobias Takavarasha termed the Locust menace in Kenya an attack on the mandate of FAO in addressing food insecurity.
Mr.Takavarasha however commended the government of Kenya for the measures that are already in place in addressing the menace.
“In terms of our mandate of dealing with hunger and food insecurity, the locust menace in Kenya is an attack on our responsibility and that is why we are stepping in to help Kenya address this. I however would like to thank Kenya for the effort so far in addressing the locust menace” he said.
According to the FAO representative in Kenya, the Desert locust menace is not only facing Kenya but also other countries in the world.
He noted that the geographical positioning of Kenya in East Africa and Africa means that the efforts in Kenya will have significance positive effects on neighboring countries.
He says the farmers who are the most affected with the menace will reap nothing and their efforts would be fruitless they plant crops but end up losing to locusts.
It is for this reason that FAO has reiterated commitment towards ensuring that there is proper weather forecasting and assisting in surveillance to help address the issue.
“FAO has put in place measures among them providing the government of Kenya with expertise, capacity building, and coordination of efforts forts with development partners. As FAO we shall continue to support the efforts of the government of Kenya” said the FAO country representative.
Similar sentiments echoed by Administrative Secretary State Department of Crops Kello Harsame who represented the Cabinet Secretary Agriculture Peter Munya.
He reminded the NYS fraternity that the opportunity to have them trained is due to level of discipline and energy towards the assigned duty of controlling locust.
According to the Administrative Secretary, the locusts were only in 4 counties initially but now in 17 counties hence a disaster that might lead to food shortage if not addressed.
He revealed that the government is mobilizing resources to bring the menace to an end and that the team of NYS being trained will be deployed in 6 most affected counties to help in hand spray using chemicals.
“The task ahead of you is that which requires a lot of seriousness, discipline and commitment. We are fighting swarms and swarms of locusts and this is war that must be won we have already used aerial spraying but they are still with us. We are now using infantry foot combat. ( Hand spray to finish them on the ground)- a method that has been found very effective and that is why we are training NYS team to help us in this” said Harsame.
On her part NYS Gilgil Commandant Ms Ruth Mbuvi reiterating that NYS is committed to the executive responsibility as per the government directive on the locust menace.
While noting that if the menace is not addressed it will have a challenge to the nation,she said they are up to the duty to help control the locusts.
The training will taking place at the NYS Gilgil College will end on 15TH Feb 2020.
The second batch of the training will take place on 17-19 Feb, in Yatta.
FAO has brought in a Desert Locust expert from Morocco who will conduct the training and support the control actions.