Minister for Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja has said his ministry needs more 16BN to bolster the current efforts against locust invasion in Uganda.
Speaking to the press at the Media Centre in Kampala, Sempijja said more swarms have crossed into Uganda from Kenya, and the insects have been confirmed in 28 Districts stretching the existing efforts to counter the threat.
Sempijja says 9BN have been allocated to UPDF operations, and the rest to facilitate other teams on the ground with the necessary logistics. He said the operations have been bolstered by air combat with the number of aircrafts reaching five including a UPDF chopper to guide ground forces on movements of the swarms.
He however lashed at critics who have portrayed the operations against locusts as a money-making venture, saying it is unfair owing to the sacrifice the teams are offering in countering the invasion. He said it is worth noting that whereas our neighbors in Kenya took 8 days to respond to the first attack of desert locusts, Uganda took less than 24 hours to respond and reduced the parental population.
“The agriculture ministry uses approximately 900BN; I don’t think anyone can hide under the pretext of locusts to steal 11BN. As an overseer of the operations, it is true is that much work has been done on the ground, and our boy’s are suffering” He said.
“UPDF and Widlife and extension workers sleep in the open, but to hear a preacher saying “the real locusts who want money are putting on suits” is unfortunate. He added.
Reports have confirmed that large swarms of locusts hit Soroti from Ngora this morning, and headed straight in the direction of Lira District. A UPDF chopper was also reported to be monitoring the movement of swarms.