MAAIF Calls for Calm Amidst New Deadly Locust Invasion

Desert locusts on trees in Amudat district
By :
Baluku Geoffrey

MOROTO – The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), informs the public that Uganda continues to receive more deadly desert locust swarms from the East.

The most recent was on the 3rd of April 2020.

“Following the most recent alert communicated through local area radio stations and the MAAIF website on the 3rd of April 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries hereby informs the public that Uganda continues to receive more Desert Locust swarms from the East,” the MAAIF statement posted on Facebook reads in part.

Mr. Waiswa Masokonyi, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Amudat, says the new locusts don’t look like the first ones that entered the country three months ago.

“The current locusts are still young and green unlike the previous ones which were yellow in colour,” Masokonyi said.

While the Ministry and partners continue to control these invasions and create awareness among the most at risk areas using local area radio stations, the public is advised to avoid: “false alarms and misleading messages aimed at lowering vigilance of affected communities.”

The ministry urges the public to report any invasion by Desert Locusts to the nearest agricultural extension officer.

Joseph Marimoi, the District Senior Agricultural Officer for Amudat, says the locusts entered Uganda through Karita Border area and spread throughout Karita Sub County in the areas of Akou lee, Nacemato, and around the mountains. He explains that the insects however migrated westwards towards Nakapiripirit and Nabilatuk districts.

According to MAAIF, success in controlling the first wave of Desert Locust Swarms that invaded Uganda on January 19, led government with support from the FAO, WFP and other partners, to train 550 Extension Officers, District Agricultural Officers and District Production and Marketing Officers in the sub-regions of Teso and Karamoja. These officers are now expected to use that expertise in invasion control, sensitizing the masses and responding to alerts.

Entomologists and Geo-Information Systems Specialists from both the Ministry and the UPDF will also continue to carry out surveillance of the invasions to provide extent maps and advisories.

The ministry, however cautions the public against attempting to collect, eat or sell locusts found near or around the pesticide application areas as they could contain traces of pesticide that are harmful if consumed.

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