Kenya launches pesticide spraying operation to tackle locust infestation
Kenya’s government has launched pesticide spraying operations in several counties in an effort to contain its worst locust infestation in 70 years.
Large-scale spraying operations began on Monday in Wajir, Samburu, and Marsabit counties where swarms had laid eggs which have now hatched. Despite environment and health concerns over the mass spraying of chemical pesticides, the Kenyan government decided to take action while freshly-hatched locust populations are most vulnerable.
Kenya turns to pesticides in fight against locusts
Wajir, Samburu, and Marsabit are three of the ten counties affected by swarms of locusts in Kenya. The country’s response was halted by an insufficient supply of pesticides and planes capable of spraying the chemicals. The delay has allowed the swarms to spread across a larger portion of the country, prompting farmers to criticise the government’s slow response to the crisis.
Many farmers turned to private companies instead of waiting for government authorities to step in.
The government now has eight aircraft capable of spraying pesticides at its disposal, which will focus on targeting immature locusts. After hatching, locusts remain on the ground for four to five weeks, making them an easy target while the planes will also target more mobile immature locusts that are the most destructive.
Featured image: By CSIRO, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35486123