Mwikali had planted millet, cow peas, green grams, sorghum, pigeon peas, sweet potatoes, maize, and cotton. She also had set aside a small portion of her farm to grow tomatoes, onions, and watermelons for her family.
Everything was destroyed by the locusts.
“Usually, my crops are ready for harvest on my farm by the end of February. This year I was expecting a good harvest. Now, almost everything is lost.”
Mwikali depends on her crops to feed her family and to pay her children’s school fees. Now she is not sure what she will do. She has no food to feed her family and her three children may be forced to drop out of school.
“At this time of the year, we should be clearing the farm for April rains and cutting sorghum and millet stalks so they can regenerate. But what do we cut? The locusts ate everything. We wake up everyday and try to spray the hoppers. They are a nuisance. We are worried for our health because we don’t know if the pesticides we are applying are safe for our children. We are on our own!”
“The locusts are everywhere, in the farms, in the bushes and even in the rivers. We fetch our drinking water from Kalange river. We scoop into the sand to collect water for our domestic use but now our source is contaminated. It is black and it stinks. We don’t have any treatment methods and we are not even sure if it’s safe for human consumption.”
Mwikali’s chickens are dying. The chickens feed on the locusts and then begin swelling. They become immobile and die within days.
“Is it the locusts or the pesticides? I have never seen such a disease in poultry in my lifetime.”
Mwikali plans to sell her livestock as the locusts destroyed any fodder for the animals.
There is no pasture to graze my goats and cows.”