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Desert locusts destroy crop gardens in Moroto

Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Desert locusts have invaded Moroto district for the second time destroying several crop gardens in Rupa sub county according to local authorities. The locusts first landed in Abule parish on Saturday and spread to Lolung Parish where they devoured crops and vegetation for two days.

UPDF used aerial spray to kill the insects on Sunday evening. Desert locusts first attacked Moroto district in February this year. However, they caused minimal destruction since farmers hadn’t planted crops. The lastest invasion comes at a time when crops are still on farms raising fears of massive destruction by the locusts.

The Rupa sub county LC III vice chairperson, Prisca Nakiru says the locusts have destroyed several gardens of maize and sorghum. She told URN that the most affected farmers are those who planted crops near grazing fields where the desert locusts have settled.

The Moroto district production secretary, Emmanuel Lokii also confirms the destruction of crops in Abule, Naputh and Lolung parishes in Rupa sub county. He however said the agriculture department was yet to carry out an assessment to establish the extent of the damage.

Mark Loli, Moroto district agriculture officer down played the magnitude of the destruction saying officials from Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries- MAAIF and Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF were on ground to spray the locusts once they settle in an area.

The 3rd Division Army Spokesperson, Maj. Peter Mugisa told URN that they registered maximum results when they sprayed the locusts in Rupa sub county on Sunday evening. He said UPDF is always on standby for timely response to the locust invasion in any parts of Karamoja.

In March, the Agriculture Ministry established a regional desert locust control office in Soroti for effective monitoring of desert locusts in Karamoja sub region where they enter into the country from neighboring Kenya. The ministry also secured a standby air craft based at Nadunget airstrip in Moroto district for easy and timely response to desert locust alerts.

Recently, the Moroto Amudat district LC V chairperson, Francis Kiyonga said government was doing little to monitor the locusts despite warnings from FAO. He said the community doesn’t know that government had turned all her efforts to fighting Covid-19 at the expense of other disasters such as the desert locusts.

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