TANZANIA has expressed concern over the Desert Locust Control Organisation for Eastern Africa (DLCO-EA)'s commitment in containing a swarm of short-horned locusts that has hit the country.
The East African nation faulted the Addis-Ababa-based organisation for dilly-dallying in supporting it to curb the invasion.
Briefing reporters on Monday, Minister of Agriculture, Prof Adolf Mkenda, said DLCO-EA's inaction over the plague was regrettable as the country struggled to contain the swarms.
"We are saddened by lack of commitment demonstrated by DLCO-EA in supporting us in fighting against the locusts," the minister explained.
Prof Mkenda alleged the regional pest and vector management organisation had failed to dispatch a plane from Moshi Airport to combat the ongoing desert locust surge in various parts of the country.
According to the minister, the aircraft has since been grounded at the airport, with the pilot flown to Kenya for a similar mission.
"The organisation's conduct over the matter is questionable... I've tried to consult their director-general all to no avail," he said.
He further revealed that Tanzania was still weighing its options over its membership to the organisation.
Alternatively, Tanzania will now be forced to borrow a plane form International Red Locust Control Organisation for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA), according to Prof Mkenda.
The minister said the country was keeping tabs with the situation in Kenya as far as the invasion was concerned.
Prof Mkenda explained that he was in good contact with his Kenyan counterpart, especially on tracking a further invasion from Machakos.
"We have dispatched Tanapa surveillance aircraft to assess the situation as we continue containing the swarms... our goal is to crack down on the invasion of desert locust swarms," he said.
According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), unusual weather and climate conditions, including protracted heavy rain experienced in East Africa two years ago have contributed to a serious and widespread desert locust outbreak, which is currently threatening rural food security and livelihoods across the region.
Large and numerous swarms are reported to be destroying crops and pastures across parts of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya with their breeding and movements taking place in Djibouti, Eritrea and Sudan.
WMO further warns that there could be high risks of the swarms appearing in northeast Uganda, southeast South Sudan and southwest Ethiopia before spreading further to other East African countries.