By Eastern Newspaper Correspondent
The invasion of desert locust in all the counties in upper eastern Kenya, brought with it cries from all corners of the region.
Farmers were the most affected lot despite the fact they were expecting a bumper harvest from their farms after a period of enough rainfall.
The first county to host the lethal insects was Isiolo, and after a few days, the swarms moved to the neighboring counties of Samburu, Tharaka Nithi, and Meru.
Embu County was the last to receive the uninvited visitors who caused massive destruction on crops that included Muguka.
Up to the time of going to press, residents of Embu were still contemplating ways of fighting the menace.
It is this scenario that has kept the residents thinking about the best way of solving the problem.
Embu County Assembly Deputy Speaker Steve Munene has a feeling that locusts can be good sources of proteins to nourish the human body.
The deputy speakers now want the government and other agencies to research a possibility of the locusts being converted onto a delicious meal that is rich in nutrients.
The MCA also believes that the locusts contain beneficial nutrients especially to boost libido power in men.
The Runyenjes Central MCA says the insects are known to provide sexual energy to people who consume them in the western part of the country and other parts of the world.
‘Since it seems the government is not able to eradicate the desert locust in our midst, I have a feeling that the insects can be converted into food and help our people’ Munene said.
The MCA said, although the Bible recommends eating of locusts, the people of Embu do not know the health benefits the insects can provide to men and other members of the family if consumed.
While making a presentation in the assembly, MCA Munene revealed that he has read the holy book, bible, widely and confirmed that the locusts are good human food.
However, the Ministry of Agriculture dismissed the possibility of people eating locusts. The Director of Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa Dr. Stephen Njoka said that no report that has revealed that desert locust can be consumed by human beings as a control measure.
“You cannot finish all the desert locusts by eating them, one swarm may have up to tens of millions of insects at a particular time,” Dr. Njoka said.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, Locusts are members of the grasshopper family Acrididae, which includes most of the short-horned grasshoppers.
Locusts differ from grasshoppers because they have the ability to change their behavior and physiology, in particular, their color and shape (morphology) in response to changes in density. Adult locusts can form swarms that may contain thousands of millions of individuals and which behave as a unit.
The non-flying nymphal or hopper stage can form bands. A band is a cohesive mass of hoppers that persists and moves as a unit. In general, most grasshoppers do not form bands or true swarms.
However, the distinction between locusts and grasshoppers is not clear-cut since some of the latter do form bands
Neither FAO nor WHO has dismissed the possibility of locusts and grasshoppers being converted into human food.