KAMPALA- The state minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Aggrey Bagiire has assured the public not to panic as the ministry is vigilant and following up developments and control efforts in Kenya.
According to a statement dated January 9 2020, the desert locust situation had worsened by October 2019 in Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia.
” The governments had instituted aerial spray control operations with support from Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa (DLCOEA) and other development partners,” Bagiire said in a statement.
He notes that locusts invaded north Eastern Kenyan county of Mandera by December 2019 and have spread to 6 counties of Mandera,Maraibit,Wajir,Garissa,Meru and Isiolo.
“Since the current control capacity is limited, some of the swarms could move further Western into Turkan county, probably by mid January 2020,with likely potential and risk that some swarms could spill over into the North Eastern region of Uganda, particularly Karamoja,” reads an excerpt.
Bagiire said Uganda is currently closely working and sharing information on the current status of the desert locust in the region.
He further said a technical team of two officers have been assigned to travel to Kenya to understudy the current locust control operations to subsequently share experiences and support the control efforts in Uganda in case of any outbreak.
“MAAIF has communicated to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MOFPED) to make good arrears on annual contributions to DLCOEA which currently stand at $5,090,000 as of June 30 2019. This is cognizance and appreciation of the current pressure on the DLCOEA operation,” said Bagiire.
He noted that the ministry has communicated to the office of the Prime Minister on the imminent locust invasions and requested MOFPED for provision of a contingency fund of 5 billion shillings to cater for aircraft fuel, pesticides for control, provide for ground spray equipment and spray teams and to continuously create awareyto the population in case of an invasion.
Bagiire said, ” The ministry has alerted all districts in Karamoja and entire Eastern region to be on the look out a d the public to report immediately to the nearest extension staff in case of any stranger grasshoppers detected in their areas.”