Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja

The Minister of Agriculture, Vincent Ssempijja has revealed a swarm of desert locusts continue invading Uganda from neighboring Kenya through Karita and Loroo sub-counties in Amudat District in Karamoja sub- region, after having ravaged several parts of Kenya, causing food shortages.

The desert locusts have since been sighted in 24 districts in Teso, Lango, Acholi, Sebei and Bugisu sub- regions of Uganda. The affected districts as of March 6, 2020 include: Amudat, Nakapiripirit, Nabilatuk, Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong, Karenga, Abim, Otuke, Napak, Katakwi, Amuria, Soroti, Ngora, Kumi, Bukwo, Kween, Agago, Kitgum, Lamwo, Pader, Bulambuli, Bukedea and Sironko.

Since the outbreak, government through its agencies has step up control measures which include rapid spraying in all affected areas with both manual and motorized pumps and sensitization of people.  Pesticides in use include Fenitrothion 96 per cent low volume formulation, Malathion which is an organophosphate insecticide commonly used to control mosquitoes and a variety of insects that attack fruits, vegetables, landscaping plants, and Parathyroid insecticides.

“The existing swarms have not caused significant damage to the vegetation cover, however, there is an eminent threat to food security when the eggs hatch into hoppers in the next few weeks as has been the case with our neighbour, Kenya.” He said

He said the swarms however continue to spread to other districts and possibly laying of eggs is expected to continue while our efforts to control the adult locusts continue.

“On March 3, 2020, a new invasion of desert locust (four square kilometre) arrived in Bukwo district covering three villages of Ariyowet, Kapambar and Kaptobole in Kapswamatule sub- county. The swarm was a mixture of immature and mature adults.”  He said.

Since then, the ministry has received support from the United Nations (UN) Agencies during implementation of desert locust control interventions. The Desert Locust Control Organization (DLCO) and FAO continue to provide experts who have been helpful in the desert locust control activities.