Farmers in Kinangop counting losses after snail invasion


By WAIKWA MAINA
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Destructive snails have invaded farms in Kinangop, Nyandarua County, causing massive destruction to horticultural crops.

Ms Janet Njambi, a farmer from Githabai Ward, has lost two acres of cabbages that she had anticipated to harvest in February to the pests.

The farmer expected to earn between Sh400,000 and Sh500 000 from the crop, but she is now counting losses and might not recover the cost of production. 

She says the pests have also invaded their homes and become a nuisance.

“Horticultural farming is the main source of livelihood in Kinangop. The region has a favourable climate and weather patterns for horticultural farming but the excessive rains this year have attracted the destructive snails,” said Mr Michael Njau.

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A cabbage destroyed by snails in Kinangop,
A cabbage destroyed by snails in Kinangop, Nyandarua County on December 27, 2019. PHOTO | WAIKWA MAINA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Njau’s one-acre peas farm has been completely destroyed by the creatures.

The farmer says he first spotted the snails early December but was unaware the situation would get out of hand causing him and other farmers great losses.

“They are multiplying very fast. Their eggs are all over the farm. We have tried to use table salt as directed by agronomists but it won’t work. It’s not possible to sprinkle the salt in the entire farm,” said Mr Njau.

Another farmer, Mr John Kihiu, says the invasive snails are drilling holes inside the tubers to lay their eggs .

Mr Daniel Wanjiku, an agronomist, says the
Mr Daniel Wanjiku, an agronomist, says the snails pose a great threat to the area’s ecosystem if not contained in time. PHOTO | WAIKWA MAINA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Daniel Wanjiku, an agronomist, says the snails pose a great threat to the area’s ecosystem if not contained in time.

“Once done with the crops and the weather does not allow them to remain in the farms, they migrate to river banks, attacking the vegetation and trees. They also transmit nematodes and worms harmful to human beings. They have great economic, human health and environment effects,” said the agricultural officer.


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