(JKUAT student Erick Ochieng Govindah)
Following the current locust infestation in many parts of the country, Erick Ochieng Govindah, a second year biochemistry student at the Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has proposed solutions to end locust menace in the country.
Erick has recommended the use of biopesticides in controlling the Locust infestation in Kenya
“The government should consider using more of biopesticides than conventional chemicals in locust control” he said.
Biopesticides are crop protective products derived from natural sources that are used to control pests and pathogens. This he recommends because they are friendly to non targeted species; are readily available and do not cause pollution.
He says biopesticides are in two categories namely microbial pesticides which uses living organisms such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, protozoan and yeast. And the biochemical pesticides which uses natural occuring insecticides.
According to Erick, biopesticides have disadvantages such as a slower rate of killing; Shorter persistence in the environment and susceptibility to unfavourable environmental conditions.
However, the use of Biopesticides should be considered over conventional chemicals since many conventional chemicals, however faster in killing the locust, can cause pollution of the soil, vegetation, air and water.
Erick explains further that Locusts hatch so fast in undeveloped grasslands and spread faster into the field.
He recommends that if possible the government should use aircrafts fitted with sprays to spray the biopesticides quickly over large acres of lands.
“Some of the biopesticides that can be used are Canola oil and baking Soda” he said
In the event the above biopesticides may not be available, he recommends the Synthetic pesticides such as arsenic, nicotine sulfate and strychnine.
“The Government should take the issue of locust infestation seriously they will continue to multiply and will have divastating consequesnces to the population that is already struggling with mulnutrition an basic food insecurity” he says.