The minister of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries Vincent Ssempijja in a statement said swarms of desert locusts continue invading Uganda from neighbouring Kenya through Karita and Loroo sub-counties in Amudat District in Karamoja sub-region, after having ravaged several parts of Kenya, causing food shortages.
Mr. Ssempijja said the desert locusts have since been sighted in 24 districts in Teso, Lango, Acholi, Sebei and Bugisu sub-regions.
Although Government moved swiftly to enlist the services of the UPDF soldiers to spray manually, it was work too big for the men in uniform which prompted government to outsource for two aircraft to implement aerial spray.
But despite the arrival of the specialized aircraft from the Desert Locust Control Organisation and another one hired by the government, the two assets have been unused as a result of the absence of chemicals used for aerial spraying.
“The specialized pesticide formulation for aerial spraying is a challenge to obtain due to the current wave of desert locust outbreaks in the horn of Africa, Middle East, and the East African region,” the minister said in a statement on Tuesday.
He however said that the Japanese supplier, Twiga Chemicals had been in position to send 400 litres as part of the whole consignment.The rest of the order is expected soon, noting that the shortage was not unique to Uganda as Kenya was also having a similar problem.
“However, the Supplier, Twiga Chemicals has been able to make partial delivery of 400 litres awaiting delivery of the full consignment. Kenya is also faced with the same challenge of ready availability of this chemical,” noted the Minister.
Though currently concentrated in the Northern and Northeastern districts of Nabilatuk, Nakapiripiriti, Amudat, kotido, Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong, Karenga, Abim, Otuke, Napak, Katakwi, Amuria, Soroti, Ngora, Kumi, Bukwo, , Agago, Kitgum, Lamwo, Pader, Bulambuli, Bukedea and Sironko, the worst is expected when the eggs laid by now are expected to hatch in a few days ahead , as it was in the neighboring Kenya.
“The existing swarms have not caused significant damage to the vegetation cover; however, there is an eminent threat to food security when the eggs hatch into hoppers in the next few weeks as has been the case with our neighbour, Kenya,”Ssempijja said.
He assured the public that there should not be any cause for panic as the Government said that ground spraying will in the meantime be maintained by the UPDF.
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