Reprieve for Mwea rice farmers as govt issues 20,000 litres of pesticide to combat snails
The government through the Ministry of Agriculture has provided 20,00 litres of pesticide to rice farmers in order to combat apple snails.
The snails have been destroying rice plantations in the region and have been leading to huge losses to farmers.
According to Crop Development Principal Secretary, Kello Harsama, the program, which is still in the pilot stage, will now be carried out by the County government with help from the federal government.
Harsame added that the goal is to make sure that farmers can maximize their output and ultimately reach the necessary production through the reduction of losses.
The chemical will be used in the Tebere, Curukia, Thiba, Mwea, Karaba, and Wamumu sections, as stated by Mwea MP Mary Maingi.
This comes after Kirinyaga Senator Kamau Murango raised concern about snail invasion in the Mwea irrigation scheme.
In his remarks at Karima Village in Mwea, Senator Murango stated rice farmers run the risk of contracting tetanus when their hands are cut by snail shells during harvest.
“When farmers get cut by snail shells, they can’t continue with their work. This causes time wastage and loss of money,” Murango said on Monday, August 7, 2023.
The senator continued, saying that farmers who suffer accidents and are unable to work suffer tremendous losses.
Scientists from the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) warn that the snail could develop into a serious agricultural and ecological pest, resulting in significant financial losses in the cultivation of wetland rice and endangering biodiversity, if it is not controlled or eradicated.