They are angry, hungry, vicious, dangerous and destructive, moving like a battalion of the brutal army, destroying and devouring anything green on their way. Welcome to the barracks on armyworms, which begun converging as a joke and now are strongly marching through 12 counties.
Farmers across the country are counting losses as thousands of acres of maize are destroyed by armyworms with most counties being those traditionally considered as the basket of Kenya. The Counties affected the most include Bungoma, Nandi, Kericho, Kakamega, Kisii, Trans-Nzoia, Busia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Uasin Gishu and Migori Counties.
In Bungoma County alone, more than 30,000 acres of maize have been completely destroyed with farmers left to contemplate on the next move. In Trans-Nzoia County, more than 60,000 acres of land have been affected by the armyworms putting the indisputable Kenyan basket on the brink of collapsing.
What is worrying is that the destructive armyworms have been able to spread across the 12 Counties in a span of one month. The armyworms are resistant to normal insecticides and their rate of spreading has left thousands of farmers desperate.
The attack from the armyworms comes as the country is still struggling with the ongoing drought. The country has received very little rain with more than three million people facing hunger and starvation. The weatherman had predicted that the long rains will kick off at the onset of April but that has not come to pass especially in regions like Rift Valley and Western Kenya.
The Ministry of Agriculture has announced that it is going to use more than 300 million shillings in an attempt to fight the destructive armyworm. The ministry has also said that it is planning to use the National Youth Service to help in the spraying of the farms. The farmers, however, have said that the help from the ministry is coming too late for already thousands of acres of maize have been destroyed.