The ministry of agriculture has warned that the swarms of locusts that invaded Uganda a few weeks ago, continue to spread to other
Swarms of Locusts entered Uganda On February 9th, 2020 through Amudat and have now been sighted in 17 districts; Abim, Kaabong, Nakapiripirit, Amudat, Agago, Katakwi,
Nabilatuk, Moroto, Napak, Kotido, Kole, Kitgum, Karenga, Kumi, Ngora, Soroti, Amuria and there are reports of sightings in Lango, Acholi and West Nile sub-region. swarms have now been classified as mature adult locusts that may not have much longer to live after laying eggs.
The minister State for Animal industry Hon Bright Twamutwara says the locusts co to he to spread to other districts in the region and laying of eggs is expected to continue while other locust swarms are still invading Uganda from neighboring Kenya.
Addressing the press at Uganda media center this morning, Minister Rwamirama said that a female locust lays at least 300 eggs in one sitting and will lay eggs three times in its lifecycle.
The nymphs and the immature adult Desert Locusts (mainly pink in colour) that will emerge after the first hatching are the most dangerous since they have a high need for food he noted.
According to the minister, the existing swarms have not caused significant damage to the vegetation cover, however, there is an eminent threat to food security following a possible outbreak.
"Locusts are herbivorous and feed on green vegetation. This means that whereas human beings and animals may be safe, the crops and grasslands on the other hand are at risk and so is everything depending on them for their livelihoods. This is largely because a locust swarm feeds on 100-160 tons of vegetation per day.
Uganda has two major cropping seasons – March-June (Season and Sep-Dec (Season 😎 and this particular invasion is just after the last harvest and before the first cropping season.
In the affected areas, vegetation, crops, grasslands and grain are vulnerable. The crops in the region most threatened include; sorghum, cassava, sweet potato, maize and millet.
The minister warned that locust swarms have been laying eggs and should these eggs hatch, Uganda may be faced with an Outbreak.
As a mitigation measure, Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Agriculture has adopted the following measures: Coordination of relevant stakeholders from the respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Development partners and all stakeholders.
Also, surveillance teams working hand in hand with the support of the UPDF in the region are assessing the travelling patterns of the first swarm to construct maps of sites where the eggs have been laid and this will enable the technical staff to survey and monitor the hotspots for any locust invasion.
He noted that while the spraying of the mature adult Desert Locusts is being carried out, these surveillance maps will be used to provide coordinates for the aircraft that will be used in the aerial spraying of the nymphs and immature locusts that will be hatched into the region in less than 2 weeks.
Also, procurement of appropriate equipment: Leasing of aerial spraying aircrafts has been finalized, Pesticides, Protective gear, motorized pumps and knapsacks sprays have been procured and dispatched to the affected areas for ground control operations.
"Government has mobilized resources from its treasury and various Development Partners to facilitate its Desert Locust Control Plan and this is how it has been spent so far:
Total Received: Ugx 22 Bn Allocation: 11.1 BN – Desert Locust Control Organization; 3.6BN for Aircrafts leasing, 0.3BN for UPDF Operations 7BN – Chemicals, Logistics, Protective Gear, Pumps, Surveillance" he says.