Uganda: Government Gets More Shs7b to Fight Desert Locusts

12 February 2020

Government has secured another Shs7 billion for the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to combat the locust invasion.

It had earlier earmarked Shs15 billion which the ministry said has already been used up three days after the locust invasion was confirmed in the country. The insects invaded the country on Sunday through Karamoja Sub-region.

Mr Steven Twibejuka, the commissioner crop protection in the Ministry of Agriculture, yesterday said Shs11b out of Shs15b was paid as subscription fee to the Desert Locust Control Organisation for East Africa (DLCO-EA), a regional locusts control body.

The organisation, which boosts of aircraft for aerial spraying of the desert locust, had earlier threatened not to offer any support to Uganda since it has not been paying the fees which it said had accumulated to Shs18b.

Mr Twibejuka said the Shs4b was used to procure pesticides they sourced from Japan that will be used to spray locusts and transport them.

"Part of this money was to pay part of our arrears with the locust organisation and one expert has already arrived and will work with the national experts to combat locusts," Mr Twibejuka said.

"The chemicals used for aircraft are different types. One of the types is between $35 (Shs127, 000) and $50 (Shs181,000) per litre. Another type, which we sourced from Japan is about $125 (Shs453,700) per litre, which can cover about one to two hectares," he added.

Mr Twibejuka added that Shs7b is needed to facilitate operations of the three aircraft from the locust control body.

"The Cabinet on Monday advised that more Shs7b should be mobilised for aircraft activities. You know these activities of running the aircraft is very expensive because paying the pilots is similar to the ones who fly commercial flights," he said.

He said the funds will also pay engineers to maintain the aircraft and secure extra aircraft and more inputs.

The commissioner promised proper accountability for the funds.

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