The Ministry of Agriculture And Animal Husbandry under its department of entomology is currently using atomic nuclear to eradicate tsetse flies in the areas of kalangala as a way of improving livestock productivity and eradicating poverty.
The project which is already progressing in areas of Buru, Lulamba and Serinji islands, will be rolled out in other islands with time.
Dubbed ‘sterile insect technique acaricide integrated pest management approach against glosina for improved livestock’, the initiative involves the use of radiation to blast and sterilize male tsetse flies which are then released using a drone into the bushes.
Fredrick Luyimbazi, the head of the Entomology department at the Ministry of Agriculture, says this technique is aimed at totally eradicating tsetse flies by stopping them from reproducing.
“Once these sterilized male tsetse flies are released, it means that even if they fertilize eggs, there will not be reproduction. With time, all the old tsetse flies will die out hence increased production in these areas,” Luyimbazi explained.
He noted that they began with Kalangala but once the technique is proved viable and reliable, “we are going to roll it out to areas that are affected by tsetse flies and other insects that destroy crops and animal livelihood.”
Luyimbazi however mentioned the need for support from government and other development partners if this program is to be sustained.
The commissioner was spelling out the initiative to the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and other government officials from different African countries who were visiting the exhibition on the application of nuclear science and technology at the 28th AFRA summit that is taking place at the Speke Resort Munyonyo.
The 5-day African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research (AFRA) was organized with the aim of deliberating on regional challenges to provide solutions using nuclear techniques in areas of energy planning, disease management, agriculture and strengthening nuclear sector.
Rugunda appraised the work and promised to solicit for more funding from government and other donors on behalf of the agriculture ministry.
“We understand that insects, especially tsetse flies are a danger to crop production and the use of atomic nuclear for such a purse is something that the government will be truly excited about supporting. In future, we will put enough money aside to help in such developments because this is the future of the agriculture sector. We need to modernized solutions,” he said.