African army worm are back, FAO warns
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has raised an alert over the re-emergence of the African Armyworm in six Eastern African countries including Kenya.
The pest which has already invaded 23 counties in the country comes back after 21 years with climate change blamed for the latest challenge to the agriculture sector.
This comes at a time when over twenty counties mainly in ASALs regions are still rearing from the drought and months after invasion of Desert Locust.
FAO Country Director Mucavi Carla attributed the resurgence of the pest to climate change, noting that the current weather was very conducive for the pest to breed.
Mucavi identified Kenya, Eretria, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda as the countries currently feeling the effects of the pest.
She said that the UN body had set aside USD500,000 to train agriculture extension officers and provision of equipment in dealing with the pest.
Speaking in Naivasha during the launch of the African Armyworm management project, Mucavi noted that the worm posed a major threat to food and nutrition security in the region.
On his part, the Secretary-Administration in the Ministry of Agriculture Joseph Kirubi said that the government was working closely with FAO in dealing with the worm.
According to him, 23 counties had been affected adding that the ongoing campaign was meant to stem the pest from spreading further.
Kirubi admitted the reemergence of the worm was a major blow to the country which managed to contain the invasion of Desert Locust last year.
The Director of Plant Protection and Food Safety Collins Marangu identified cereals as the most affected crops by the worm.
The CEC for Agriculture in Baringo Risper Chepkonga was grateful for support from FAO adding that this had helped contain the spread of the pest in the county.