Government has set aside 11 Billion Shillings as part of a contingency plan to fight desert locusts.
Uganda is potentially threatened by the highly mobile and destructive desert locusts which have attacked three East African countries including Kenya, which neighbors Uganda. Swarms of billions of the locusts are closing on Turkana the closest county to Uganda.
The government has earmarked 5 billion shillings geared towards fighting once they invade the country.
President Museveni gave the directive to the Ministry of Finance to set aside the money for procurement of the pesticides and other equipment required for the exercise.
The development was confirmed by the Director Extension Services Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industries and Fisheries MAAIF Beatrice Byarugaba in an interview.
Byarugaba said another 11 billion shillings is needed to carry out large scale aerial spraying once the desert locusts are confirmed in Uganda.
She also disclosed that 2,000 soldiers have been identified to handle manual spraying in residential areas where aerial spraying is not possible. She explained that the personnel would be trained on how to handle the task ahead of them.
The Army Spokes Person Richard Karemire did not respond or return our repeated calls but the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces and Inspector of The UPDF Lt. Gen. Wilson Mbadi said last week at Olilim that the UPDF was ready and had the capacity to fight desert locusts.
“We have broadened our perspective about security, it’s not just about peace we consider many aspects. Our people can’t be secure if there is food insecurity. So the UPDF will fight the desert locusts if they invade Uganda,” said Mbadi during the pass out of 2978 LDUs in Olilim recently.
According to Byarugaba, the Desert Locust Control Organization to which Uganda subscribes has been contacted to be on alert to fight the pests in Uganda.
Currently, a team of Ugandan experts have been sent to Nairobi on a learning exchange visit.
Meanwhile, citizens in Karamoja are calling on the government to destroy the locusts before they invade the country. The Kenyan government is employing massive control mechanism including spraying to put the locusts under control.