Agriculture

Locusts: Uganda Still Lacking Aerial Spray Chemicals

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

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The Minister of State for Animal Husbandry Hon Bright Rwamirama has revealed that to date, Uganda has not yet received aerial chemicals to spray locusts in the affected districts.

The chemicals he said are only manufactured in Germany and Japan and Uganda made an order but the chemicals are not in the country yet.

“The chemical for ground spraying is available. Only the chemical for aerial spray is still a problem and since it is not manufactured in the region, we have to wait,” he said.

The chemical that is awaiting importation is known as Fenitrothion 96% ultra-low volume.

Rwamirama also made a clarification that the current aircraft which is lying idle waiting for chemicals to arrive was not procured by Uganda but rather rendered to the country by Desert Locust Control Organisation (DLCO) of East Africa because Uganda is a member.

“There has been a misunderstanding that the aircraft which is here is procured. This one is from Desert Locust Control Organisation (DLCO) of East Africa,” he said.

The second aircraft which was hired to also do aerial spray, the Minister said, cannot come when pesticides (pesticides for aerial spray) are not yet in the country.

“Bringing it here and parking it, we will be paying money for nothing.”

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Regarding the safety of people in areas where ground spray of chemicals is being done, Rwamirama said the chemicals are biodegradable and they degrade away in less than 7 days.

To the honey producers in the affected districts, he said about 5 to 10% of bees will be affected.

“It’s only for aerial spray that will be special but this one we are using on ground are normal pesticides that are actually applicable here in Uganda,” he said.

The Minister also announced that two swarms of locusts entered Uganda yesterday Monday.

The first swarm of locusts entered Uganda on February 9th 2020 and today they have spread to 24 districts including Amudat, Nakapiripiriti, Nabilatuk, Moroto, Kotido, Kaabong, Karenga, Abim, Otuke, Napak, Katakwi, Amuria, Soroti, Ngora, Kumi, Bukedea, Bukwo, Kween, Agago, Kitgum, Lamwo, Pader among others.

Rwamirama said that the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries technical team with support from DLCO, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the United Nations and National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) are on ground in the affected district Local Governments training extension workers, district leaders and other stakeholders on management of desert locusts.

Presently, it’s the national army, the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) that is carrying out ground spray in the affected districts.

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