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Kenya Govt Seeks Australia Help With Locusts as Lender Stanbic Warns of Slump in Sector

GBR Team 03/03/2020

The Kenya Government will import 40,000 litres of potent pesticide from Australia to deal with the growing desert locust menace even as dominant agribusiness lender Stanbic warned of a possible decline in the farming sector unless the locust spread is stopped.

Speaking to the press when he handed over the reins to the Trade ministry to newly-appointed minister Betty Maina, Agriculture cabinet secretary Peter Munya, said 10,000 litres of locust spray was to be airlifted immediately with the remaining 30,000 to be sent by sea.

Stanbic Bank, at a briefing to issue its annual earnings report, at the same time warned that Agribusiness could suffer losses from the locust menace and indicated it might consider reducing its lending to the sector.

The Tier 1 bank, is the leading lender to large-scale farmers and is heavily involved in the horticulture industry in Naivasha in particular.

CS Munya said the National Youth Service along with local youths would be deployed to hand spray locusts in area with dense vegetation while in sparse areas, choppers would be used to do aerial spraying.

Ten new choppers, the CS said, have been added to the current fleet of 10 to fight the locust spread. Ten of the 20, will be used to carry out aerial surveys while the remaining 10 will be used to spray.

Stanbic, in assessing its corporate lending risk for the coming year, said it had identified farming, in addition to public works, as sectors likely to see a slowdown and it would consider its exposure to both in making lending decisions.