The unwanted ‘guests’ finally arrive: Locusts in Uganda
By Grace Akol Ogwang
When news of desert locusts combing through neighboring Kenya reached, it was their next destination that worried many. Said to be traveling over 100 kilometers each day, the plant scavenging swarm of locusts were headed for Uganda. And yesterday, on Sunday, 9th-Febuary-2020, they made their grand-entrance through the North Eastern Karamoja region. As is the norm these days, the news started trickling in through Social Media.
In fact, a post by a one Gloria Apio, a field officer with the Agriculture Ministry garnered attention. Armed with pictures of said locusts, Apio quite vividly helped narrate the locusts’ route for all to take note.
Apio spoke thusly:
“Colleagues let me take this opportunity to thank Everyone ; the Project Manager ZOA, The Project Officer livelihood ZOA, the PAS, the Agric Officer Loroo , the Vermin Control Officer, the Diso and all of you colleagues and informants, who participated in different ways in the field exercise that enabled us confirm the presence of locusts in Kosike , Loburin ,Amudat Sub county.
Findings; According to the in charge Kosike Health centre III, a one Ms Christine, there were three swarms that came in at 11:00am; one flew over and went while two landed on the compound of Kosike Health Centre. The swarms according to eye witnesses were big and the moment they landed, the compound turned yellow. By the time we got there around 4:30pm, the swarms had left and headed towards Cholol River, and Acerer, but we managed to grab a few remnants as below.
The MAAIF team that were coming in from Moroto met a swarm around Acerer on the Nakapiripirt- Moroto highway and collected samples too. This other swarm was heading towards Nabilatuk.”
Speaking to Nile Post, Moses Kizige, the State Minister for Karamoja said, “A swarm estimated to be about 3,000 has landed in Amudat this afternoon.” On a good note, government’s preparation for the invasion of the locust (a short-horned cousin of the Ugandan delicacy, grasshoppers), was evident.
The Prime Minister, Ruhakana Ruganda said that the procurement of choppers for spraying the locusts is ongoing, and that the armed forces and Agriculture field officers were in place to help reduce the damage. He added that a whole $3M had been released to battle the locusts that have been on a plough into East Africa.