The Government has approved an additional UGX 16bn to intensify the fight against locusts that are invading Uganda, so far covering 28 districts.
This is in addition to 15bn and 7bn earlier approved, making a total of UGX 37bn.
According to the Minister for Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vicent Ssempijja , a new swam entered Uganda on Monday night and crossed to the areas of Soroti district.
There are reports that locust eggs have hatched in Kenya’s Turkana region, raising red alerts and a need for more manpower and financial resources.
“With the new wave of the swarms we want to intensify in the man power and resources luckily enough the government approved an extra 16 billion to help contain these locusts and boost our manpower,” Ssempija said.
He said that UGX 6bn will go to the UPDF, UGX 5.6bn will go to procurement of ground pesticides and UGX 1.2bn will go to the local government. UGX 100m will go towards sensitization in the affected areas.
So far, locust swarms have been confirmed in the Karamoja, Teso, Acholi, Lango and Sebei sub regions, covering 25 districts.
Ssempijja fired back at critics who are calling the locust fight a money making venture saying: “We have a budget of over UGX 900bn and I don’t think these people can steal this little money. Those looking for accountability should check with the ministry’s permanent secretary.”
He added: “Those calling us suit locusts I will I ask them to come join us and see what is taking place in these areas. The UPDF and other volunteers are sleeping in bushes and in bad conditions. It is very unfortunate for a preacher to make reckless statements and accusation.”
The delay of planes and pesticides
Ssempijja explained that the government received one aircraft from Desert Locusts Control Organisation of East Africa (DLCOEA) and three helicopters from UPDF with one being modified and another airplane waiting for the pesticides from Japan to arrive for the aerial spray.
Ssempijja said the delay of the pesticides came as a result of high demand from other affected countries like Pakistan which announced a state of emergency and this has overloaded the manufacturers.