Kenya seeks international assistance in fighting destructive maize worm

The fall army worm is a serious threat to Kenya's food security.

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Kenya has sought the help of the Brazilian government in a bid to fight the fall army worm infestation that is increasingly posing a threat to the country’s food security.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said that Brazil would help with biological agents that we used to fight the pest in the past.

“We also want them to play a philanthropic role by discounting the chemicals for farmers to access it. It is the first of its kind in our territory. Its uniqueness again is that when you are fighting it using chemicals, it is very difficult in the sense that it eats at night and so unless you spray at night, then you cannot hit it,” noted the CS.

He also said that the government is seeking additional funds to help the farmers gain access to the basic chemicals needed to fight the pest.

“First of all they need to understand whether that worm is within their farm. The team is working on a communication strategy. The devastation is higher in Kitale where we launched a pamphlet which the team is using in raising awareness and outreach.”

The worms have been a menace to grain harvest for the past two months after finding their way into the country through Uganda.

Kenya is among a host of other African countries where the pest has been widespread with Angola being the latest country to be affected.

A number of countries with confirmed outbreaks have faced bans on their agricultural products.

Agricultural experts say that spotting the pest while in its early lava stage, was key to prevention.

The United Nations is concerned that the worm could reach Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years as it is said to fly long distances.

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