The Government of Russia through its Ambassador to Uganda H.E Alexander Polyakov has donated 3 Million dollars (Shs 11.2 bn) to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal industry to facilitate the fight against locusts.
At the cheque hand over ceremony held at the Ministry headquarters in Entebbe on Monday, Polyakov revealed that this is part of the 10 Million US Dollars donation aimed at addressing the catastrophe of desert locusts.
“Our contribution will be used to purchase pesticides, fuel, vehicles, sprayers as well as employment and training of persons for pest code elimination,” he said.
Polyakov added that this is not the first time for Russia to support Uganda and Africa pointing out that last year they handed over 218 Kamaz trucks to the United Nations World Food Program to support humanitarian activities in both the East and Central regions of Africa.
On receiving this donation, Hon Vicent Balungaki Sempijja, the Minister of Agriculture applauded the Russian Government for the support and asked them to continue with the spirit so that locusts can be eliminated.
“It is worth noting that Uganda has within the region, conducted a more successful Desert Locust Control Program thereby averting a potential loss of over US$ 800M arising from crops protection of both food and cash crops in the affected areas. That said, the efforts to promote food security remain crucial,” said Sempijja.
Sempijja asked the Russians to consider supporting them further through provision of more Field Trucks of Russian Special design for manpower transport.
He also expressed a need of 10 field trucks for transportation of pesticides, pumps, empty containers among others.
“We still need more support, five double cabin pickups to provide transport for the operational field office at Soroti Flying School.”
Sempijja further asked for twenty six motorcycles and desert locust surveillance equipment for the District teams involved in Desert Locust Surveillance.
Uganda, in just this year, has had two invasions of locusts both on April 14, 2020 and May 16, 2020 respectively.
During the last invasion on May 16, a mixture of mature and immature locust swarms covering over 400 hectares entered Kapedo and Karenga in the North Eastern part of Uganda and these were controlled by the DLCO EA aircraft.
On May 20, 2020 more swarms were observed and they settled in Kaabong and in Kathile, Karenga district. These were controlled by the UPDF Desert Locust Control team through ground spraying and some of the splinter swarms are suspected to have flown into South Sudan.