Following reports of the locust invasion in various parts of Northern Kenya, the alarm has been raised on the spread of the swarm to more areas necessitating government agencies to respond.
The National Sericulture Research Centre has directed the country to two key methods through which the locust menace can be contained during a press conference held at the National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi on Thursday, January 9, 2020.
Centre director Dr Muo Kasina warned the country that hunger was imminent if the situation was not managed.
The body suggested two ways Kenyans could be prepared should the situation go beyond the capabilities of the authorities that stunned the audience unfamiliar with the situation.
1) ''Avoid Moving Them''
Dr George Ong'amo, a data management and analyst trainer at the centre, warned citizens against attempts to chase away the locusts, as they only went to areas where the vegetation is healthy. Consequentially, he directed that if they landed in your area, you needed to allow them to eat and the state would figure out a way to compensate affected farmers as opposed to chasing them and putting the country at risk of hunger.
''Avoid moving them because they are here because the rains and vegetation is green, let them eat where they are and the government can figure out a way to compensate farmers. They are moving and laying millions of eggs.
The entomologist increase in their population is likely to grow into a full-fledged hunger crisis if the locusts are allowed to move and lay eggs in different parts of the country.
2) ''Eat Them''
The centre assured Kenyans that locusts are a nutritious source of protein and safe for human consumption, especially in areas with protein deficiency problems. He referred to a biblical figure, John The Baptist who ate locusts and wild honey while in the wilderness.
''We as insect scientists are advocating for insects as emerging livestock.''
The official indicated that for the past few years research and advocacy methods have been employed and taught at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The insects can be harvested and eaten, just like the termites have been consumed in Eastern and Western parts of Kenya for many years.
''You can eat them with Ugali, just make sure you sort them out, healthy ones only, unakula wale wako safi kabisa,'' one of the officials advised.
Scientists confirmed that they are indeed edible and have solved hunger problems in the past. One entomologist present gave a brief history of a time when the swarm of locusts invaded and destroyed crops leading to serious hunger in Machakos County.
The residents then, harvested the locusts dried them and ate them, saving a portion of their population. However, citizens were cautioned against eating sprayed locust in order to avoid organophosphate (pesticide poison) poisoning which is deadly.
''The insects are with us and we will deal with them in whichever manner possible, if they are sprayed do not eat them."
The officials also shared that they are liaising with animal food processing companies to use harvested locusts in the mixes for dogs, cats and animals in the cities.
''It is not what we are seeing it is, it is what is coming, these locusts have laid millions of eggs, it is the result of those young ones that we should be planning to manage.''
The centre is exploring more methods to contain the situation in the country.
Kenyans have so far responded to the suggestions the scientists gave with some laughing it off, others echoing in support while others trolling the message.
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