The entire Eastern Region of Uganda and districts of Karamoja are on high alert for an eminent invasion of desert locusts that are currently ravaging the North-Eastern countries of Africa.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), swarms of the deadly desert locusts (scientific name Schistocerca geraria) whose multiplication and breeding has been facilitated by incessant rains experienced in the region as 2019 ended, have spread from Ethiopia, Somalia,Sudan and Kenya, and are expected to enter Uganda in a few weeks from now.
The ministry says FAO experts predicted this invasion and by December 2019, the deadly locusts invaded North Easter Kenyan County of Mandera. As of now, the locusts have spread to six counties of Mandera Marsabit, Wajir, Garissa, Meru and Isiolo all in Kenya.
According to a statement released by the ministry on Friday, desert locusts -are a deadly specie of short-horned grasshopper family which is on rampage, has high mobility, a lifespan of 3 – 6 months, and a broad spectrum of feeding habits meaning they eat up a wide range of crops and vegetation.
The Ministry however noted that some of the swarms could have moved further into Turkan County, and warned that by Mid=-January 2020, some of the swarms could spill into the North-Eastern region of Uganda particularly Karamoja.
The Ministry says it has already requested for provision of UGX 5Billion to cater for aircraft fuel, pesticides, and groung spray equipment, and to create awareness to the population in case of an invasion.
The public in districts of Karamoja and the entire Eastern region have also been asked to be on the look out to immediately report any strange grasshoppers detected in their areas.