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New Swarm of Desert Locusts Destroys Crop Gardens in Moroto

The last invasion comes at a time when crops are still on farms raising fears of massive destruction by the locusts. Uganda Peoples Defence Forces -UPDF teams are already on the ground, using aerial spray to kill the insects.
Desert Locusts invade vegetation in Rupa, Moroto

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Desert Locusts have invaded Moroto district for the third time destroying several crop gardens in Rupa Sub County. The locusts first landed in Abule parish on Saturday and spread to Lolung Parish where they devoured crops and vegetation over the last two days.    

The first swarm of desert locusts first entered Uganda through Amudat and Moroto districts  in February before spreading to several districts across Teso, Lango and Acholi Subregions. Another breed of Desert Locusts invaded Kumi district in April, causing destruction to farmers in the area, after sweeping through the districts of Amudat Nakapiripirit, Nabilatuk and Moroto. However, they caused minimal destruction since farmers hadn’t planted crops.

The last invasion comes at a time when crops are still on farms raising fears of massive destruction by the locusts. Uganda Peoples Defence Forces -UPDF teams are already on the ground, using aerial spray to kill the insects.

Rupa Sub County LC III Vice-Chairperson, Prisca Nakiru says the locusts have destroyed several gardens of maize and sorghum. She told URN that the most affected farmers are those who planted crops near grazing fields where the desert locusts have settled.

//Cue in; “Yesterday locusts …

Cue out… all the leaves.”//

Forecasts made by the Food and Agriculture Organisation-FAO prior to the COVID-19 crisis indicate that more than 25 million people in the East Africa region will face acute food insecurity in the later half of the year.

The Moroto District Production Secretary, Emmanuel Lokii confirms the destruction of crops in Abule, Naputh and Lolung parishes in Rupa Sub County. He, however, said the agriculture department was yet to carry out an assessment to establish the extent of the damage.  

Mark Loli, Moroto District Agriculture Officer downplayed the magnitude of the destruction, saying, officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries- MAAIF and Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF was on ground to spray the locusts once they settle in an area.   

//Cue in; “They are coming …   

 

Cue out… doing its part.”//

The 3rd Division Army Spokesperson, Maj. Peter Mugisa told URN that they registered maximum results when they sprayed the locusts in Rupa Sub County on Sunday evening.

In March, the Agriculture Ministry established a regional Desert Locust Control Office in Soroti for effective monitoring of desert locusts in Karamoja sub-region where they enter into the country from neighbouring Kenya. The ministry also secured a standby aircraft based at Nadunget Airstrip in Moroto district for easy and timely response to desert locust alerts.  

Recently, the Amudat District LC V Chairperson, Francis Kiyonga, said the government was doing little to monitor the locusts despite warnings from FAO. He said the community doesn’t know that the government had turned all her efforts to fighting Covid-19 at the expense of other disasters such as the desert locusts.

//Cue in; “We have been advised by ….  

Cue out… they are multiplying.”//

Earlier this month, the agency sent out an alert indicating that breeding continues in eastern and northern Ethiopia and in central and northern Somalia where hopper bands have been present for several years. The alerts indicated that most of the swarms in northwest Kenya will migrate northwards and cross South Sudan to Sudan while other swarms will migrate to Ethiopia and a few swarms could transit into northeast Uganda.

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