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Moroto launches sensitization drive against desert locusts

Moroto, Uganda  | THE INDEPENDENT | Moroto district has rolled out a sensitization drive about desert locusts in a move to scale up surveillance. A technical team led by the Moroto district production officer, Dr. Francis Inangolet Olaki has begun field visits to communities at the Uganda – Kenya border to sensitize them how to identify the desert locusts.

According to Dr. Inangolet, the awareness campaign will be implemented in all sub counties to ensure that the community is involved in the surveillance mechanism against the desert locusts. The campaign stems from the threat of the desert locusts, which are already wreaking havoc in the neighboring Kenya.  

Media reports indicate that Kenya has suffered the worst invasion of the locusts in 70 years with swarms of locusts in billions eating up vegetation in the affected areas.

Moroto district production officer, Dr. Francis Inangolet Olaki, says they are on high alert and carrying out regular surveillance to update the Agriculture Ministry on the threat.

URN visited Tapac and Rupa sub counties on Tuesday and interacted with residents who said they hadn’t seen any desert locusts in the area. 78-year-old Loduk Apalokwang, a resident of Tapac recalled that he last saw desert locusts before independence.

“Since then I have never seen desert locusts anymore. They move in a battalion like soldiers and within five minutes the whole garden is gone,” said Apalokwang. He urged government to put in place control measures before the locusts arrive in Uganda.

Michael Eregae, the Turkana county chief livestock, fisheries and entomology officer told URN that the Kenyan government is using mass control mechanisms including aerial spraying to control the pests. He said swarms of desert locusts are still prevalent in Baringo, Marsabit, Mandela, Maralal close to Turkana county, which borders Uganda.

The destructive insects are said to cover 150 miles per day and can quickly multiply forming highly mobile groups and swarms, which eat up to 100 000 tons of green vegetation per day. The Ugandan government is readying itself for possible invasion.

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