Opuntia Stricta – prickly pear – remains an invasive species threat in Laikipia. Laikipia County Government has been in the forefront of discussions on how to address this invasive species. On February 22, 2019, the County Department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources, led the third follow-up stakeholder workshop to agree a way forward on the harmonization of the efforts different stakeholders are making towards management of Opuntia stricta.
The meeting was attended by different Laikipia and national stakeholders including community members from the group ranches most severely impacted by the plant, the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, ICRAF, Mpala Research Centre, World Vision, Laikipia Perma-Culture Center, Laikipia County Government, the Northern Rangelands Trust, Naibunga Conservancy, ILMAMUSI CFA, and GSD Innovation. Also in attendance at the meeting was the MCA for Mukogodo East Ward, Hon. Daniel Nyausi, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the County Assembly of Laikipia. He assured full County support to the invasive species management efforts. He also requested for a briefing paper to be presented to the County Assembly for lobbying of a County Policy on invasive species, and for the allocation of more budget for interventions in the 2019/2020 financial year.
The major resolutions of the meeting included the combination of mechanical control, biological control, enterprise and policy formulation in the management of the invasive species. Laikipia County Government will continue to coordinate all the activities from the different stakeholders in the management of the invasive species. Stakeholders pledged to maintain frequent engagements and coordination in the management of the invasive species.
LWF is the recipient of a new grant through USAID and the Regional Center for Mapping Resources for Development (RCMRD). The grant will be administered by LWF and support the County’s efforts to monitor the Opuntia eradication efforts with the engagement of citizen science. The grant will commence in April 2019. Stand by for regular updates!