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UPDF Begins Fight Against Desert Locusts

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Led by Maj. Gen. Sam Kavuma, the Deputy Commander of Land Forces the soldiers donned protective gears on their faces as they combed Komoret village where the desert locusts settled in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
A Close up of desert locusts

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Uganda People Defense Forces-UPDF soldiers swung in action against the desert locusts in Nakapiripirit district on Thursday afternoon. Armed with hand and motorized pumps, UPDF soldiers and the LDU personnel sprayed the swarms of desert locusts for about six hours.

Led by Maj. Gen. Sam Kavuma, the Deputy Commander of Land Forces the soldiers donned protective gears on their faces as they combed Komoret village where the desert locusts settled in the wee hours of Thursday morning. They were assisted by a number of partners including FAO and were supervised by technical personnel from Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries- MAAIF.

The spraying exercise closed at 1.00 pm after the dense swarms of locusts believed to cover 10 square kiloliters continued to spread eastwards towards Nakapiripirit district. Our Journalist who visited the area saw very large swarms flying at an estimated height of about 10 – 12 meters while millions more settled on the ground occasionally eating vegetation.

Swarms also fell on the trees leaving them bare without leafage just in a period of about 20-30 minutes before spreading to new areas. Maj. Gen. Kavuma said the operation against the desert locusts was successful because they managed to kill a substantial number of the insects.

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The Nakapiripirit Entomology Officer, Dr. Simon Peter Anoga warned that manual spraying is likely to achieve little success and may be ineffective in curbing the locust invasion. He urged Ministry of Agriculture to step up its efforts and employ modern technics of pest control such as aerial spraying.

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He expressed fears that with the current method, the locusts are going to spread all over Karamoja and undermine the ongoing efforts. The desert locusts first spread to Uganda on Sunday through Amudat and Moroto districts.

However, the swarms have since spread to other areas including Teso and Acholi sub regions.  A fresh invasion was confirmed on Wednesday by Amudat Chief Administrative Officer, Musokoyi Wasswa. He said the latest swarm, which entered through Karita on Wednesday afternoon was in billions.