Locusts devastate Turkana, Kenya, crops; replanting begins
In addition to the travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the semi-nomadic people of Turkana, Kenya, have also had to deal with an “invading army” marching through their land this spring, devouring every green plant, according to CMF team member Gene Morden.
“We are encouraged, however, that the plague of locust is nearly over, and people are preparing their farms and beginning to plant,” said Gene. “Until it rains, the irrigated farms will be the main source of food.”
The locusts have also had a huge impact on the livestock that the Turkana depend on for their livelihood.
“I have not even begun to hear of how many goats, sheep and camels have perished,” he said. “The landscape has become a barren, windswept tract.”
Ready to plant
The farm team led by Eric Lorupoe had three new irrigated farms ready to plant and has now begun work.
“Some farmers stood over their transplant beds with brooms (to brush away the locusts) and now have some crops to transplant,” added Gene. “But most people will plant cowpeas; they will have leaves to eat in three weeks and beans in 70 days. This will sustain many as they wait on the squash, watermelon, onion, tomatoes and peppers to begin producing again.”
Generous support from CMF donors has blessed many Turkana with irrigated farms. Today, 950 families have wells and irrigation, which means that between 25,000 to 50,000 of the poorest Turkana have daily food. The farm team will train and help 30 families plant their first crops in July and help another 20 families replant their first crops because locust ate their first crops.
“The Turkana have come to understand the value of irrigation and the food security it provides,” said Gene. “They thank God daily and tell us to thank all the Christians who have blessed them with water so they can feed their families. There are currently 90 families with wells waiting to get irrigation. The waiting list for families wanting wells and irrigation is long and continues to grow. Please pray with us for God to supply more partners to provide irrigation for Turkana families.”