By Nathan Eyagu
Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries has handed over 106 solar powered phones and 23 motorbikes to different districts of Eastern and Northern Uganda to help in the fight against the Desert Locusts.
The State Minister for Fisheries, Hellen Adoa who also doubles as the Woman MP for Serere district who presided over the ceremony yesterday 17th January 2022 said the government was preparing for the invasion expected in April this year.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report of 06th January 2022, there is a limited number of small immature swarms in northeast Somalia that formed last month (December) from local breeding.
The benefiting districts that received the donations are majorly districts from Acholi, Lango, Teso, Sebei, Bugisu and Karamoja Sub Regions.
Adoa said that as climatic conditions are drying out in northern Somalia, limited swarm movement is still expected to occur and if any swarms reach the Kenya/Ethiopia border, easterly and southeasterly winds are likely to carry them towards the Rift Valley in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia.
The Minister noted therefore that there is need for early vigilance and preparedness in the Eastern and Northern Districts of Uganda.
She said that compared to the past two years where the country experienced five waves of locusts swarms between 9th February to October 2019, there is a potential invasion of swarms later this year because they are only present in northeast Somalia and not in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia where prevailing winds tend not to impede their migration.
She applauds the efforts and collaboration of the donors to the Ugandan Government following the devastating effects of the locusts once it attacks the area.
Among the strategies and action plan by the Government include; Sensitize and create awareness, capacity building for all stakeholders, surveillance monitoring and mapping of the desert locusts’ spread.
Jane Akiror, the Principal Assistant Secretary Soroti District however noted that the invasion of locusts did not spare Soroti with major occurrences happening in the sub counties of Gweri, Tubur and Asuret.
” We are happy for the donation which will help increase the presence of the extension workers on the ground hence improve face and physical contact between the Agricultural officers and the local community,” she added.
Samuel Enangu, the Vice Chairperson Soroti district urged the Chief Administrative Officers to ensure that the operations and maintenance costs are met to avoid grounding of motorcycles given to them and also requested the ministry to provide farmers with farm inputs.
The donation is from the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) and the Japan Government under Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)