The locust invasion targets Kenya’s bread basket

Locusts have returned to Kenya, raising new fears about the corn and tea harvest in the country’s breadbasket region. Farmers have woken up to find that the insects are eating their way through the crops that farmers rely on to feed and export their families. A farmer, Jackline Wambui, said she tried to drive away the locusts by hitting sticks on the lids of saucepans.

“I didn’t want the locusts to destroy my corn and bananas because I have no other source of food,” she said.

“I have no other method of getting rid of it.”

The Kenyan military has teamed up with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to contain the invasion. Teams have sprayed pesticides on some farms to keep the situation under control. “When I saw these locusts swarming around my farm and house, I was alarmed and concerned about what would happen to the tea harvest and our livelihood,” said another farmer, Elizabeth Wangui.

She explained that her tea plantation was her only source of income and she was very relieved that the authorities had sent pesticide sprayers to help. However, local authorities say more needs to be done. “I fear my people, or rather the people of my community, are running out of food,” Mary Mwatha told the Associated Press. “I’m actually very scared and I ask for help.” This is followed by last year’s locust outbreak in East Africa, which was the worst in the region in 70 years.

(Image credit: AP)

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