MOROTO — Tearing in Moroto District’s Rupa Sub County right now is a plague of biblical proportions after millions of locusts in swarms have laid waste to the crops in their path.
Authorities say, farmers now face food shortages as the plague managed to consume several gardens, leaving a prominent mark in Abule Parish and Lolunga Parish where they arrived on Saturday.
“Government is taking long to find a permanent solution, if they (locusts) stay here for days, we don’t know what will happen,” Rupa Sub County LCIII Vice Chairperson Prisca Nakiru said, noting that “the local population is terrified.”
“Even the cows wonder what’s going on,” says Joseph Okema, who is being shown in video clip hunting locusts off his garden.
“Corn, sorghum, beans; they ate everything, they have eaten trees bare,” but continue fly hungry.
Farmers and children are seen running around, waving blankets and pulling on branches to scare them away.
This is the third time locusts have invaded Moroto since February this year.
The first swarm of desert locusts first entered Uganda through Amudat and Moroto districts in February before spreading to several districts across Teso, Lango and Acholi Subregions.
Another breed of Desert Locusts invaded Kumi district in April, causing destruction to farmers in the area, after sweeping through the districts of Amudat Nakapiripirit, Nabilatuk and Moroto. However, they caused minimal destruction since farmers hadn’t planted crops.
The last invasion comes at a time when crops are still on farms raising fears of massive destruction by the locusts. Uganda Peoples Defence Forces -UPDF teams are already on the ground, using aerial spray to kill the insects.
Rupa Sub County LC III Vice-Chairperson, Prisca Nakiru told URN the locusts have destroyed several gardens of maize and sorghum.
Authorities say the most affected farmers are those who planted crops near grazing fields where the desert locusts have settled.
Forecasts made by the Food and Agriculture Organisation-FAO prior to the COVID-19 crisis indicate that more than 25 million people in the East Africa region will face acute food insecurity in the later half of the year.
The Moroto District Production Secretary, Emmanuel Lokii confirms the destruction of crops in Abule, Naputh and Lolung parishes in Rupa Sub County. He, however, said the agriculture department was yet to carry out an assessment to establish the extent of the damage.
The 3rd Division Army Spokesperson, Maj. Peter Mugisa told reporters that they registered maximum results when they sprayed the locusts in Rupa Sub County on Sunday evening.