County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Aemun has said that desert locusts invasion on vegetation has affected sources of livelihoods for residents of Turkana.
Speaking in Lodwar today when he officially closed a three day desert locust control training, CEC Aemun said that the County Government was working on modalities for a recovery programme to benefit pastoralists and farmers.
The plans include supply of farm inputs, livestock feed and training of more youths on desert control exercise to impart knowledge on handling such disasters in future.
He stated that the ongoing operation to stem locust infestation in the region was multi-sectoral as it involved the National Government, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as well as Peace Winds Japan (PWJ).
To enhance ground and aerial surveillance spray the County Government will recruit 280 youths, with FAO and Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) recruiting 310 while the National Government has send 200 National Youth Service personnel to boost Locusts control in Turkana
To mitigate future Locusts infestation, CEC Aemun said that the County Base for Pest Control will be strengthened to have enough chemical for spraying and staff as well as stationing of a deputy base commander drawn from the County Government.
He urged the trained officers to help in creating awareness on desert locusts, and added that a hotline number for surveillance reporting of the pest would be created to help in combating desert locust.
Swarms of locust has so far destroyed more than 15,000ha of vegetation in Turkana.
County Director for Agriculture Paul Lokone stated that the training had factored staff from the Department as well as those from the Public Administration as the campaign required a multi-sectoral approach.
Head of Food and Agriculture Organisation in Turkana, Dr.Dan Irura, said that Turkana County was now a breeding epicentre for the desert locusts ,and assured that FAO will continue supporting the County Government in combating the pests.