The Department of Agriculture Livestock Development and Fisheries Uasin Gishu County in collaboration with the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service(KEPHIS) held a workshop to bring awareness to farmers on the management of the Dodder(Cuscuta) parasite.
Cuscuta parasite is stem parasites that naturally graft to their host plants to extract water and nutrients. Speaking while opening the workshop, County Director of Agriculture Reuben Seroney said that the County has distributed over 800,000 promotional crops seedlings, a move that led them to train farmers in the prevention and management of the spread of the parasite. Seroney thanked KEPHIS for offering training to farmers on various issues and urged farmers to report if they spotted cuscuta parasite for early prevention from damaging their plants.
KEPHIS Chief Inspector Asenath Koech said that Cuscuta does not make its food but it depends on other plants such as avocado, mango and macadamia among others. According to Asenath, there are chemicals that are used to eradicate the parasite but most of them are not selective hence farmers may end up losing their crops. She further urged farmers to report the infestation of the parasite at an early stage since KEPHIS can manage problems that affect farmers using an integrated management system to prevent the parasite.KEPHIS Managing Director Prof. Theophilus Mutui and General Manager Phytosanitary Services Dr Isaac Macharia also attended the workshop.