UPDF Airlifts Chemicals to Tackle Desert Locusts in Amudat

The government has sent 18,000 litres of chemicals to Amudat District in Karamoja sub-region, to aid the aerial spraying of locusts that entered Uganda through the North West Pokot area on Sunday.

The chemicals were loaded and airlifted this morning from Kololo airstrip, by Ministry of Agriculture and Uganda Peoples Defence Forces-UPDF personnel to combat the deadly locusts which have already destroyed acres of vegetation, specifically in Okorikeya and Loro villages. 

The development comes just a day after the government confirmed an invasion of Desert Locusts in parts of Amudat, Nabilatuk and Nakapiripirit, some of the areas in Karamoja sub-region that share a common border with Kenya. 

The government earlier announced that three types of chemicals will be used for spraying the locusts, which are also, plaguing Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, among other countries. 

The Chemicals include Fenitrothion 96 per cent low volume formulation, which is a phosphorothioate insecticide, Malathion, an organophosphate insecticide commonly used to control mosquitoes and a variety of insects that attack fruits, vegetables, landscaping plants, and shrubs as well as Pyrethroid, a special chemical class often used by pest management professionals. 

Yesterday, State Minister for Agriculture Aggrey Bagiire said that the Agriculture Ministry has already prepared both manual and automatic pumps for dispatch early morning to Karamoja. He discloses further that they have in stock the chemicals for spraying some using motorized spray pumps and others manual. 

The locusts, according to the food and agriculture organisation, travel in dense, crackling swarms which can contain as many as 80 million locusts per square kilometre. They travel at least 150 kilometres a day and can destroy about 192 million kilograms of vegetation in two days.

Uganda has not had to deal with a locust infestation since the ’60s.