KAMPALA – Hon. Bright Rwamirama, the Minister of State for Animal Industry has on Wednesday, March 3, 2020, revealed that desert locust invasion has so far spread in 24 districts across the country.
He made the revelations as part of the continual efforts by the Ministry to provide regular status updates and public advisory about the Desert locust invasion.
According to the minister, the desert locust invasion in Uganda that started in early February is now Amudat, Nakapiripirit, Nabilatuk, Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong, Karenga, Abim, Otuke, Napak, Katakwi, Amuria, Soroti, Ngora, Kumi, Bukedea, Bukwo, Kween, Agago, Kitgum, Lamwo, Pader among others, despite control efforts on the ground.
“Among other desert locust invasions, on 29th February, 2020, one swarm crossing from Kenya was reported at Lorengedwat in Nabilatuk and settled at Matany in Napak; covering nearly 10 square kilometers,” he said.
Rwamirama added that two other swarms have been reported in Rupa, Moroto and Kakamongole in Nakapiripirit district.
He, however, noted that a number of interventions continue to be undertaken by Government in collaboration with relevant stakeholders to minimize the impact of desert Locusts on food security and livelihoods of communities in the affected districts.
“MAAIF technical team with support of a National Consultant and in collaboration with experts from Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa (DLCOEA); Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; and the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) are on the ground in the affected District Local Governments training extension workers, District leaders and other stakeholders on the management of Desert Locusts. The same teams have also trained the UPDF and staff of the Uganda Wildlife Authority on safe use and handling of the pesticide’s equipment,” Rwamirama said.
He revealed that the government has dispatched an assortment of pesticides, spray pumps (motorized and knapsack) and protective gear to the affected District Local Governments and ground control operations have been conducted in all the 24 Districts.
“Surveillance and monitoring teams from MAAIF and trained staff from District Local Governments and Uganda People’s Defense Forces have continued to assess and map out areas, where eggs could have been laid by the Locusts and maps, are being developed to guide the control as the eggs hatch into nymphs (both by aerial and ground control),” he said.
He said the ground spraying has been successful in suppressing the mature Desert Locust swarms thus cutting off the laying of eggs that would have resulted into a bigger population of locusts.
“Awareness creation and sensitization is ongoing and will be intensified over the next few weeks in the local areas affected by the Development Partners in the affected communities through various engagement fora including media and local council mobilization efforts,” he told the press.
He added that “The Districts’ leadership including Resident District Commissioners, LCV Chairpersons, Chief Administrative Officers, District Internal Security Officers and District Production Officers have been sensitized on the control measures and their roles in combating the pests.”