The Government is seeking 5 billion shillings to prevent locusts from entering Uganda from neighboring countries
As earlier predicted by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) experts, the locusts invaded the North Eastern Kenyan county of Mandera by December 2019.
Currently the locusts have spread to the 6 counties of Mandera, Marsabit, Wajir, Garissa, Meru and Isiolo.
Addressing reporters at Uganda Media Center on Friday, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAIIF) Hon Aggrey Bagiire said his Ministry through Office of the Prime Minister has requested the Finance Ministry to avail the funds to fight the deadly insects.
“The Ministry has communicated to the office of the Prime Minister on the imminent locust invasions and requested Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development for a provision of a contingency fund of 5 billion shillings to cater for aircraft fuel (aircraft to be provided to Desert Locust Control Organisation East Africa (DLCO EA) pesticides for Control), provide for ground spray equipment and spray teams and to continuously create awareness to the population in case of any invasion,” said Bagiire.
He added that a technical team of 2 officers have been assigned to travel to Kenya (Wajir and Marsabit counties) to understudy the current locust control operations to subsequently share experiences and support the control efforts in Uganda in case of any outbreaks.
Bagiire revealed that Desert Locust Control Organisation East Africa (DLCO EA) is still owed $5million by Uganda.
DLCO EA is an organization of nine countries of great East African region founded in 1982 to fight locusts and every country releases a certain amount of money to the organization annually to control operations, do regional forecasting and support in generating weather patterns data.
The countries include Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Eretria, South Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Bagiire said the Agriculture Ministry has made a call to Ministry of Finance make available the 5 million USD owed by Uganda government to DLCO EA.
“MAAIF (Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries) communicated to Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development to make good use of the arrears on annual contribution to DLCO EA which currently stands at 5,090,000 USD as of June 30th 2019.”
He noted that Uganda has been paying it contribution to DLCO EA annually but added that, “we pay but don’t pay full amount.”
Uganda has so far paid 3.5 million USD to DLCO EA.