Locusts pose a great danger to food security when they
invade an area. Over the years, farmers have counted losses owing to desert
locust invasion in their farms, destroying crops which end up yielding low or
not at all.
Over the past few weeks, locusts have invaded farms in North
Eastern parts of Kenya, including areas of Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit and Garissa.
The government resorted on the use of pesticides after
farmers cried foul of desperate measures to repel the insects that have been threatening
food security in the area.
Wajir Deputy Governor Ahmed Muktar, who was on the
supervisory team overseeing the aerial spraying, cautioned residents to keep
away from the covered areas to avoid contracting diseases from the pesticide.
About 3,000 litres of pesticides was acquired to get rid of
the insects, as government spokesman Cyrus Oguna assures the public that the pesticides
do not pose any threat to their health if used according to the guidelines.
However, to avoid posing danger to the environment and the
risk of contracting disease to the locals, News 9 Kenya looks at the possible
way of dealing with the menace biologically.
Reports show birds are the most essential biological means
of fighting locusts. China is one the country that has ever used birds to
control a swarm of locusts invading farmers’ crops.
The country resorted to this measure after realizing the
threat aerial pesticide spraying pose to the environment.
According to Xinhuanet, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur
Autonomous Region used an army of birts to combat locusts that had invaded more
than 392,000 hectares of pasture in Tacheng Prefecture along the China-Kazakhstan
border in 2017.
The country set up nests in mountainous areas and grasslands
to attract more than 50,000 migrating rosy starlings’ birds, which pry on
locusts, and about 85,000 special chickens deployed to battle out the locusts.