The Ministry of Agriculture has since passed out information warning the entire populace to stock enough food. However, the warning might have come in late as many people are likely to have already sold off a number of crops harvested in the recent farming season. Uganda last experienced a major locust invasion in 1961, with immense damage on crops which resulted in acute hunger.
the looming food security threat posed by the desert locusts which have already
invaded Uganda through the northeastern region, the Ministry Of Agriculture,
Animal Industry and Fisheries has put the entire country on standby.
Kalema, the Senior Knowledge Management Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture,
says that earlier today the Permanent Secretary Pius Wakabi channeled information to all district production officers, agricultural officers, and
extension officers notifying them about the forecasted unprecedented threat to
food security due to the desert locusts.
notes that in the communication contains guidelines on basic food storage
measures to be applied in case of extreme damage from the locusts. He says that
the decision has been informed by lessons learnt from Kenya where the said
insects have been devastating communities for the last weeks.
in: “Well, the information…
out…our extension directorate."//
locusts have currently been detected in areas of Amudat, Nakapiripiti and
Moroto, available information indicates that when the major swarms arrive in
the country they might spread hitting Teso sub-region first.
Tukahirwa, a Senior Agriculture Inspector at the department of pests and crop
protection says if the swarms are not contained in the first week, there
is also a possibility of them moving westwards to Acholi and Lango sub-regions
continuing to the southwestern area and possibly crossing to Democratic
Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. Tukahirwa says that if the worst
happens then the impact on the desert locusts will be felt across the country.
in: “What we…
out…here in Uganda.”//
that although aerial and ground inter-ministerial interventions are underway, they
may not be sufficient due to the expected size of the swarms coupled with
weather conditions forecasted which might enable further survival,
reproduction and movement of the locusts.
past weeks, the desert locusts have been particularly worrisome in Ethiopia,
Somalia and Kenya devastating the food crops and fodder.
to Food and Agriculture Organization- FAO, Just a single square kilometer swarm
containing up to 80 million adults can destroy hundreds of thousands of acres
of crops eating the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people. Locusts are known for being migratory pests staying in one place for 17 hours
covering 50 to 300kilometres per day.
Querido, the FAO Country Representative in Uganda, says amid efforts to control locusts, they have dispatched a team that will assess the impact of their
invasion on food security, livelihoods and livestock in both affected and yet
to be affected areas. After the assessment, there will be interventions to support residents.
however, expresses worry that even before an assessment is done, they are sure
of the potential devastation of crops and pasture in the northern and eastern
areas which already suffer from high levels of food insecurity.
in: “As you know…
out…to also recover.”//
The Office of the Prime Minister through its disaster management unit has since
dispatched some relief items to support the districts of Amudat, Nakapiripiti
and Moroto. The package includes 15 tonnes of rice, 12 tonnes of maize flour and
other logistics as they mobilize for more.
of Agriculture has since passed out information warning the entire populace to
stock enough food. However, the warning might have come in late as many people
are likely to have already sold off a number of crops harvested in the recent
farming season. Uganda last experienced a major locust invasion in 1961, with
immense damage on crops which resulted in acute hunger.
On Sunday, John Byabagambi, the Minister for Karamoja advised
Ugandans to eat the insects. Of course, the desert locusts are edible and said
to be containing a number of nutrients.
countries like Yemen, which were attacked by the plague last year, villagers
reportedly chased the swarms of locusts using special nets scooping the insects
out of the air in an attempt to catch the insects to save their crops midst of
a food crisis. “Instead of them eating our vegetables, now we eat locusts with
rice and our vegetables are fine," one Yemeni farmer was quoted by local
same development, Querido notes that in Iran people
have been developing the capacity to turn the insects into use by making animal
feeds among other products. He, however, observes that the threat posed to
desert countries might not be as much compared to an area with green
vegetation. He also points out that the size and speed of the swarm itself make
it difficult to harvest even if communities would wish to.
in: “As you know…
out…the super devastation.”//
further warns that since the government has taken a step of spraying the
insects, locals should not attempt to eat the insect as it will be exposing
them to the insecticides which they are going to use.