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Kenya: County to distribute seeds to farmers haunted by primate menace

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The county has begun distributing certified maize seeds to farmers recovering from a monkey invasion.

In a joint operation between the county and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), several monkeys have been captured and relocated to game parks.

Following the successful relocation, the county government has embarked on providing certified hybrid seeds and fertiliser to farmers to help them get back on their feet.

Driving away the animals from human habitats gained momentum two weeks ago, when Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala supported Governor Mwangi wa Iria and ordered a KWS office re-opened to co-ordinate the operation.

In a survey, KWS said, hundreds of monkeys were roaming the area.

Agriculture and Livestock Executive Albert Mwaniki said hybrid maize seeds valued at Sh100 million and fertiliser would be distributed to registered small-scale farmers in all 35 wards in the county.

Mr Mwaniki said the county was targeting 750,000 bags of maize this year following eradication of the monkeys. This is expected to help the county address food security.

He said the farmers had also been encouraged to plant fruit trees as part of efforts to mitigate climatic change.

“We are presently distributing inputs as a way to attain food security, in some farms 75 per cent of the harvest was destroyed,” said Mwaniki.

Gatanga MCA Nahason Gachuhi said in the past, pleas to authorities to rein in the destructive monkeys went unheard.

Many of the families, he said, had not known peace since the animals descended on their farms and started destroying their crops.

A Sh3 million operation to get rid of the monkeys, dubbed ‘Ondoa Tumbili’, has concentrated on the lower parts of Gatanga, Kandara, Maragua and Kiharu constituencies, following an outcry from farmers.

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