LAIKIPIA – Kenya is battling some of the worst locust plagues in decades, but start-up The Bug Picture hopes to transform the pests into profits and bring “hope to the hopeless” whose crops and livelihoods are being destroyed by the insects.
Unusual weather patterns exacerbated by climate change have created ideal conditions for surging locust numbers, which have destroyed crops and grazing grounds across East Africa and the Horn.
Scientists say warmer seas are creating more rain, waking dormant eggs, and cyclones that disperse the swarms are getting stronger and more frequent.
The Bug Picture is working with communities around the area of Laikipia, Isiolo and Samburu in central Kenya to harvest the insects and mill them, turning them into protein-rich animal feed and organic fertilizer for farms.
“We are trying to create hope in a hopeless situation, and help these communities alter their perspective to see these insects as a seasonal crop that can be harvested and sold for money,” said Laura Stanford, founder of The Bug Picture.
In central Kenya’s Laikipia, clouds of locusts are devouring crops and other vegetation. The Bug Picture is targeting swarms of 5 hectares or less in inhabited areas not suitable for spraying.
Swarms can travel up to 93 miles a day and can contain between 40-80 million locusts per square kilometer.
“They destroy all the crops when they get into the farms. Sometimes they are so many, you cannot tell them apart, which are crops and which are locusts,” said farmer Joseph Mejia.
The Bug Picture pays Mejia and his neighbours 50 Kenyan shillings ($0.4566) per kilogram of the insects. Between Feb. 1-18, the project oversaw the harvest of 1.3 tons of locusts, according to Stanford, who said she was inspired by a project in Pakistan, overseen by the state-run Pakistan Agricultural Research Council.
The locusts are collected at night by torchlight when they are resting on shrubs and trees.
“The community … are collecting locusts, once they (are collected) they are weighed and paid,” said Albert Lemasulani, a field coordinator with the start-up.
The insects are crushed and dried, then milled and processed into powder, which is used in animal feed or an organic fertilizer.
- Man narrates his ordeal after being arrested alongside others while clubbing at Cubana nightclubIn Viral NewsMarch 1, 2021A Nigerian man has shared his experience after being arrested alongside others while clubbing at Cubana nightclub in Lagos. @armchaircritic_ who ...[Read more]
- It is not considered polite to borrow money from a lady – British man tells Nigerian menIn GossipMarch 1, 2021A British gentleman identified as Grant Harrold has taken to microblogging platform, Twitter to advise Nigerian men on a key etiquette to note and ...[Read more]
- The top 3 Nigerian musicians are not dating Nigerian girls – Man sparks controversyIn GossipMarch 1, 2021A Man has taken to social media and stirred a controversial discourse revolving around Nigerian women. Identified on Twitter as Mr Okeke, the man ...[Read more]
- 12 dead as gunmen attack Sokoto, kidnap businessmanIn Local NewsMarch 1, 2021Twelve persons have been reported dead while attempting to rescue a kidnap victim at Illela Amarawa in Illela Local Government Area of Sokoto State ...[Read more]
- Banditry: Kidnapping Children From Schools Is A Lesser Evil To Ransacking Towns – Sheik GumiIn Celebrity NewsMarch 1, 2021Previous article8 Nigerian Artiste Who Have Dedicated Songs To Their Partners...[Read more]
- NDLEA nabs man with two human heads in OndoIn Local NewsMarch 1, 2021Suspected hoodlums in early hours of Monday invaded and burnt down a divisional police station in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom ...[Read more]
- Osun: Amotekun apprehends Alfa for allegedly stealing ramsIn Local NewsMarch 1, 2021Suspected hoodlums in early hours of Monday invaded and burnt down a divisional police station in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom ...[Read more]
- In oil-rich Iraq, a few women buck norms, take rig site jobsIn LifestyleMarch 1, 2021BASRA, Iraq — It’s nearly dawn and Zainab Amjad has been up all night working on an oil rig in southern Iraq. She lowers a sensor into the black ...[Read more]
- 8 Nigerian Artiste Who Have Dedicated Songs To Their PartnersIn Celebrity News, EntertainmentMarch 1, 2021A great way to evoke a person’s emotion is through songs and it is also one of the most beautiful ways to express your thoughts, emotions, and ...[Read more]
- “I’ll finish Naira Marley’s money with only shopping, he can’t afford me” – Cross dresser, GoldtifulIn Celebrity NewsMarch 1, 2021Nigerian Cross dresser, Goldtiful has shared a video of himself vibing to the lyrics of the Naira Marley‘s Koleyewon hit track, while addressing the ...[Read more]