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Kenyan government announces measures to tame increasing pest threat

Kenya has over the last few years been experiencing increased pest threat invasion. This has been occasioned by the increased movement of plants, plant material and articles that harbour pests across its borders.

Speaking during a national validation workshop for the Plant Protection Bill 2021 in Nairobi, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said the country needs to boost overall farmer productivity and more importantly also protect and safeguard Kenya’s agriculture against external threats, including the introduction of foreign pests and diseases.

“There is a real and present threat of new pests affecting basic food security and major agricultural exports. Kenya and Africa as a whole are faced with pest incursions such as the Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND), fall armyworm, False Codling Moth, desert locust, the Golden Apple snail, Papaya Mealybug, Tuta absoluta and Cuscuta which are a threat to food security as well as threatening our horticultural exports,” said Munya. “The presence and attack of crops by the pests have led to Kenya losing key segments of the international markets. But largely we are also grappling with the increasing effects of climate change,” he added.

Government, the CS said, has however fast-tracked interventions such as diverting resources that could have been used for other development programmes to address the situation. He said that the current guiding statute on plant health and phytosanitary issues is the Plant protection Act, Cap 324 which was enacted in 1937, is old and has a number of limitations.

The Plant Protection Act, the CS noted, is being reviewed in order to strengthen the law to effectively deal with current and emerging plant health challenges in the country, adding that the drafting of the bill and regulations has evaluated the current phytosanitary system and identified the issues that hinder the implementation of an efficient plant health system. “These regulations will not only protect Kenya’s resources but will also create an effective framework to facilitate fair and safe competitive international trade”, Munya said

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