The state minister for animal and veterinary affairs Bright Kanyontore Rwamirama has said that currently, the available funds are not enough to fight desert locusts invasion.
It’s now almost two weeks since locusts invaded Uganda in two swarms which entered the country through Amudat district from Kenya. The locusts are now in over eight districts in Northern Uganda.
Addressing journalists at Media Centre on Tuesday,Rwamirama said that the fight against locusts is still going on however, the funds seem not to be enough for the exercise.
Currently, the money Shs22bn which the Government had mobilized from its treasury and various Development Partners to facilitate its Desert Locust Control Plan has been spent. The Shs11.1bn was paid to the Desert Locust Control Organization as membership fee since Uganda had not paid for this fee for over the years.
The Shs3.6bn was spent on Aircrafts leasing, Shs300bn paid for Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF)’s Operations, Shs7bn was allocated for Chemicals, Logistics, Protective Gear, Pumps, and Surveillance.
“As our resources are not enough we need more funds, this is a serious issue, I have had many people taking this invasion as a joke, last time some MP asked me why don’t government tear gas them but in the actual sense we need more funds,” he said.
Rwamirama added that two aircraft for aerial spraying will be in the country before the first hatching and will be loaded with the pesticide needed in the aerial control of the desert locusts.
“We have no pesticide for the aerial spray but when the aircrafts reach here in Uganda from Kenya, the chemical will be ready in the Soroti where they will start from,” he said.
Capacity Building has also been extensively conducted where over 50 Technical staff have conducted; continuous training of extension officers on identification, reporting and response when locusts are sighted. Also over 1000 UPDF Officers have been trained on ground spraying and the exercise is still ongoing.
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