Maize farmers in Matinyani Kitui West sub-county are staring at losses after fall armyworms invaded their farms, destroying tens of acres of the crop and pastureland.
The worms, according to the farmers, extensively devoured stems and leaves of the young crops and diminished grass, thereby threatening food security for both the locals and their animals.
According to the residents, the worms were spotted about a week ago, but nobody paid much attention until they swarmed their farms and pastureland, leaving serious damage in their wake.
John Sandi of Matinyani village said the African armyworms had destroyed almost his entire maize crop, forcing him to re-sow.
“The worms ate down all the crops leaving my shamba bare. We are staring at possible food shortage if we don’t receive adequate rains,” he lamented.
Kamene Mutua said they had sought the County Government’s intervention in dealing with the armyworms menace. The residents also stated that the county government intervened and accepted to give insecticides to them.
“We are grateful for the County Government’s timely intervention. The officers from the agriculture ministry visited our farms to assess the extent of the crop damage and have issued us with insecticides for eradicating the worms,” added Mutua.
Kitui County Chief Officer for Agriculture Kioko Kiilu affirmed the county administration’s commitment to assist the farmers in dealing with the armyworms invasion to avert food insecurity.
“We urge the farmers to remain calm because we will support them in every possible manner to ensure total eradication of the destructive insects,” he stated.