Fruit pests invasion hits watermelon farmers

By Dennis Bett

Watermelon farmers in Sangach in Marakwet East have expressed concern over fruit pests invasion.
The farmers urged the County Government department of co-operatives and agriculture to address the problem to safeguard their profits.
“Invasion of fruit flies is raising concern. These pests are destroying mature fruits,” lamented one farmer.
The pests burrow into the fruits and destroy the flesh and eventually the fruits rot, he explained.
The farmers led by Ben Kemboi, speaking at their farms in Kerio Valley said the fruit fly has been a menace to watermelon farmers who are counting losses after the pests destroyed the melons.
“Look at what the flies have done to my fruits, majority of the fruits are now rotten,” Kemboi complained.
He added that the farmers normally earn up to Sh 400,000 per acre, but due to the invasion of fruit flies they are will incur huge losses.
Kemboi also called on the National Government to assist the farmers in controlling the fruit fly menace to enable them realize profits.
Benjamin Sum, Agricultural Extension Officer in Endoo Ward in Marakwet East confirmed that fruit flies were wreaking havoc in watermelon farms in Sangach area.
He said almost half of watermelon fruits had been destroyed by fruit flies and added that he would train farmers on how to trap the flies to avoid destruction of their fruits.

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