Farmers cry out for help as fall armyworms ravage fields

Solomon Anyiga inspecting his maize crop at Kamungeny village in Rongai sub-county on May 15,2017.His farm has been infested by Fall Army worm.Photo BY KIPSANG JOSEPH

Maize farmers in Nandi and Uasin Gishu counties are frustrated as the fall armyworms continue to ravage their crops, raising fears of a poor harvest at the end of the season.

Some small and large scale farmers said they had not received adequate support from both the national and county governments to effectively fight the worms.

“It seems the Government has not considered the severity of this problem. It is becoming an epidemic and the current season’s crop is at risk of being wiped out,” said Nicholas Maina, a farmer from Tarakwa in Uasin Gishu.

He said both commercial and subsistence farmers who produce maize for domestic use have been affected as the worm continues to multiply and spread.

“I have 150 acres of maize and 46 acres have been affected by the worm that has infested 60 per cent of the farm,” said Mr Maina.

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The farmer said manual spraying was not effective in large-scale farming, adding that there was a need for aerial administration of chemicals. He said this calls for government support.

“If the effect of the armyworms continues, the current food crisis will escalate due to poor harvests at the end of this season. This is a challenge that calls for more attention from the Government,” said Maina.

In Nandi, Joseph Kogo, a farmer at Lessos, said he and his neighbours had not received any services from agricultural extension officers.

“The affected maize dries up in the field. Most small-scale farmers lack the resources to buy chemicals for the control of the worms,” said Mr Kogo, adding that he had seen the pests in his three-acre maize field.

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