On behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, I take this opportunity to inform you that the country has been invaded by a second wave of desert locust swarms from Kenya. The desert locusts entered Uganda through Amudat district on Friday 3rd April 2020. The two swarms that entered have further spread inland into Kumi, Katakwi, Otuke and Agago districts by yesterday 6th April 2020.
Unlike previous swarms, these swarms comprise of immature adult desert locusts recently hatched in Kenya. The immature adult desert locust is a growth stage that still feeds heavily and therefore has the potential to destroy vegetation wherever they go.
This Media briefing provides an update on the current status of the desert locusts in the Country following the second wave of invasion and provide the interventions undertaken by the Ministry and partners to contain the locust invasion.
SITUATION OF DESERT LOCUSTS IN UGANDA
Uganda has been invaded by a second wave of desert locust from Kenya. The desert locust entered through Amudat district on Friday 3rd April 2020. The two swarms that entered have further spread inland into Kumi. Each of these is estimated between 5 – 10 square kilometres. Following control by UPDF in Namalu Nakapirrpiti district, part of the swarm moved and settled in Kumi district in the parishes of Osera, and Akumu of Ongino sub county and Agule of Kumi Sub county and Agago as of yesterday 6th April 2020. UPDF was notified and control efforts undertaken.
Another swarm spread from Amudat through Nabilatuk and settled in Ogongoja sub county in Katakwi district and the UPDF team at Olilim intercepted it and control efforts are ongoing. A splinter swarm further through Amuria, Abim and settled in Otuke district.
Uganda has previously recorded nine (9) huge swarms of desert locusts in the Northern and Eastern parts of the Country. These swarms were classified as mature locusts and did not cause significant damage to the vegetation cover. However, the eggs that were laid are expected to hatch into nymphs and young locusts that have high affinity for food. This may pose an eminent danger to food security and livelihoods.
MITIGATION MEASURES BY GOVERNMENT
Government through the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries has undertaken various interventions to control the desert locusts’ invasion:
Equipment: Government has so far procured and dispatched 500 Motorised Spray Pumps, 2,000 Knapsack Spray Pumps and 2,000 sets of Personal protective gear. Motor Vehicle Mounted Spray Pumps have also been deployed. The troops are already deployed and are busy spraying the Locusts from 04th April 2020.
Funds: Government has so far mobilised UGX 22.0 Billion from its treasury and various development partners to facilitate the implementation of the Desert Locust Control Plan. The additional UGX 16.18 Billion approved by Cabinet has not yet been received from treasury.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FROM DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS
The government has been reliably informed that some of the areas in Kenya previously habited by desert locusts have newly hatched hoppers which may be headed to Uganda. There is an urgent need to engage the Government of Kenya on the possibility of joint operations for ground spraying to ensure that the newly hatched hoppers do not reach maturity and swarm into Uganda.
Farming Communities in the affected communities are however encouraged to take advantage of the recent rains and plant crops to avert a possible food crisis.