Kibingo villge residents in Gatundu North have raised alarm over the heavy invasion of maize stalk borers and monkeys on their farms.
The vexed residents said that they are now staring at a prolonged famine since the pests and the monkeys have already ravaged numerous portions of their farms.
Speaking to journalists who visited their farms on Wednesday, the farmers said that the monkeys are not sparing anything edible on their farms including maize shoots, bananas, sweet potatoes, arrow roots, cassava, avocados and even macadamia nuts.
Resident Veronica Muthoni said that the stalk borers and monkeys are her worst nightmares for two years now saying that she hasn’t harvested anything from her one-acre piece of land for the two three seasons.
“We depend on our farms for a livelihood but we have been turned into beggars by the monkeys and the pests that have invaded our farms like a plague. The little maize that survives the pests are destroyed by the monkeys. These apes sweeping our farms eating everything we depend on,’ Muthoni said.
She said that the monkeys are now invading their homes and eating any food they come across adding that women are the one who have suffered the blunt of the apes.
“They do not fear women and they are moving in groups of more than 30 monkeys. We fear that they might harms and our children. We really need help from the relevant authorities,” she said.
Resident Mary Ngige said that most farmers in the village are the elderly who cannot a order to buy the necessary pesticides to control the pests saying that the little earnings they have they use them to buy medicines to survive.
Ngige said that they have tried to use traditional methods of controlling the pests using wood ash and soil but it has been ineffective.
“Most of us suffer from diseases associated with old age and the little money we have we use it on medicine. The pesticides we have been told of are too costly going for as much as sh 1,200 which most of us cannot afford,” she said.
She added, “The pests have really cost us. Last season I harvested only one kilogram of maize on my 1.5 acre piece of land down from the eight bags I harvested the previous season. This time round I don’t even think I’ll harvest anything. Right now we are buying our food,”
She said that if she fails to harvest anything this season she will abandon maize farming until the government through the Ministry of Agriculture moves in to control the ravenous pests.
Another farmer Elizabeth Njeri said that their e orts to reach out to Agricultural extension o? cers in the region as well as the county government has bore no fruits and that their cries have fell on deaf ears.
“We have suffered enough and we wonder who’ll hear of plight and save us from the agony of losing our crops that we have toiled and moiled for to pests and monkeys,” she said. She said that resident tried combating the monkeys with dogs but the canines too felt the wrath of the monkeys as they were chased with bricks and stones.
“Dogs too have abandoned our homes and sought refuge far away. When the monkeys roam our farms no dog can bark because it’d be suicidal if it does so,” Njeri said.
The worried residents pleaded with the government through the Agriculture Ministry and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to intervene and save the situation by bringing providing them with pesticides to control the pests as well as controlling the monkeys.