Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government’s proposal to use aerial spraying against desert locusts is unsustainable, an official from the Desert Locust Control Organization for East Africa, DLCO- EA has revealed.
Mehari Tesafayohannes, the Chief Information and Forecasting Officer-DLCO-EA told local government leaders drawn from Acholi, Karamoja, Lango and Teso that the aerial spray intervention is very costly.
He explained that the current swarm of desert locusts represents a minor outlook of what is befalling the country. “Aerial spray is more expensive than the damage caused on the ground”, he told the leaders while making his presentation at Soroti University Hall on Thursday.
Government has hired two planes to carry out aerial spray against the desert locusts in Uganda. The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Sempijja says the air spray plane hire cost Uganda US$ 18,000-20,000 about UGX. 70 million every hour.
He, however, notes that much as the air spray planes hire venture is expensive, use of hand pumps also presents with a number of challenges including inability to spray the locusts on move.
The ministry has trained 2,000 Local Defense Unit-LDU personnel on how to spray locusts with hand pump sprayers. According to the Minister, government has released UGX 22 billion to combat the locust invasion in Uganda.
Meanwhile, local government leaders across the four regions are crying foul over funds to enable them fight locusts. All local government cried in unison before the minister over funds to help them facilitate, coordinate and manage activities related to the locusts’ invasion.
Hajji Wasswa Masokoyi, the Chief Administrative Officer in Amudat, says that lack of funds has constrained their coordination work.
On Thursday morning, UPDF started spraying the locusts along the border between Katakwi and Amudat following the arrival of a new swarm on Wednesday.