Embu Farmers Faced With Crop Failure
Farmers in Embu County are faced with the possibility of losing an entire maize crop this season following a massive invasion of army worm pests.
At least a quarter of the entire maize acreage totaling 6,000 out of the total 20,000 acres of maize farms are currently affected by the rapidly expanding infection of the dreaded worms.
Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Embu county programme officer Mr. Patrick Marangu disclosed during a press conference at the County Agricultural Offices Embu that the situation is dire, but intervention measures are underway in an attempt to redress the situation.
“We have embarked on a pilot programme funded by FAO involving 300 farmers in Kagaari, Runyenjes sub-county to assess the modality of control”, he said.
The programme is part of a multi-sectoral regional project being co-ordinated by FAO to develop effective management of the pest which is a new threat to East African grain production especially maize.
He disclosed that mechanical control processes involving manual removal of the pests was so far the best option but admitted that this was quite challenging considering the time it took to cover a single acre of maize crop.
Embu County Director of Agriculture John Nyaga said the crop infection rate was quite challenging and posed potential for a complete maize crop failure in the region.
A spot check by KNA, in most maize farms in the county revealed unfoldings that appear to be unmitigated by the officers on the ground.