NAROK, KENYA: Wheat and maize farmers in several parts of Narok County are staring at heavy losses as the dreaded army worm invade over 50,000 hectares of the crops.
The farmers are fighting against three notorious types of arm worms such as fall army worm, African army worms and wheat head army worms which is threatening to topple their production.
Area worst affected include Ololulunga, Ntulele, Nkori nkori, Melelo, Katakala, Nkareta, Mulot, Sagamian, Sogoo, Nkaroni and parts of Kilgoris.
The farmers in the area have however called for an urgent intervention from the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett to avert looming food crisis occasioned by the destructive worms.
Area County Cereal Growers Association (CGA) chairman Lekina Kamento said the current pesticide meant to eradicate the army worms which he said is retaining at Sh20,000 per five litre was expsensive to many farmer.
He has however called on the Ministry of Agriculture to intervene fast through provision of subsidized pesticides to save the remaining crop.
“If no immediate action is taken by the government, many farmers will be left paupers. The rate at which the worms destroy the crops is alarming yet we were expecting a bumper harvest of over 25 bags(90kg)per acre this season due to favourable weather,” lamented Mr Kamento.
Narok County Chief Officer in charge of Agriculture Christopher Nkukuu nothed that the pests are spreading at an alarming rate and mainly feed on peripheral foliage.
“These worms are different from stalk borer. The stalk borer caterpillar bores into the stalk while these worms feed more on peripheral foliage and tend to burrow through the husk instead of feeding down the silks,” he said.
He said the first occurrence of Fall Army Worm was reported at Angata Barikoi area in Trans Mara April this year adding that within two weeks , over 20, 000 hectares of maize had been invaded by the worms.