The onset of the long rain season (March-June) in Kenya usually brings hope, especially to rural smallholder farmers who prepare their lands for planting crops such as maize, beans and vegetables.
But for Rosemary Alusa, a 46-year-old small-scale maize farmer from Kakamega County in Kenya, these rains now worry her.
Her fear was how to deal with a ‘strange’ worm that attacked her maize field last year and caused her over 40 per cent loss. “Two months after planting, I noticed the worms in parts of my maize field, confirming my fear,” Alusa tells SciDev.Net.
Since fall armyworm was reported in Kenya during the long farming season in March , maize farmers such as Alusa have been grappling with the fight against the crop-devastating worm and the country is still working on adopting and registering effective pesticides to help control the pest.
According to scientists from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation…fall armyworm is emerging as a big threat to food security in Africa.
…[T]he pest which is present in 40 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa could cause maize yield losses of about 8.3 to 20.6 million metric tonnes a year in Eastern and Southern Africa. The value of these losses…is estimated at between $2.48 billion and $6.19 billion a year.
Read full, original article: Smallholders grappling with fall armyworm in Kenya