Uganda government releases contingency fund to counter desert locust invasion


The Ugandan government has released 15 billion shillings (about 4.5 million U.S. dollars) as a contingency fund to prevent the spread and invasion of desert locusts ravaging neighboring Kenya.

Keith Muhakanizi, permanent secretary at the ministry of finance, told Xinhua by telephone on Wednesday that the funds will be used for control operations and measures to prevent or handle the locusts in case they invade the east African country.

“We have released the funds for preventive and control measures. The insects are ravaging some parts of Kenya that are closer to Uganda,” said Muhakanizi.

The ministry of agriculture said last month that it requested a contingency fund of 1.35 million dollars for aircraft fuel, pesticides and other supplies for the fight against locusts.

The locusts are still in Kenya’s Samburu and Turkana areas, about 200 km from the border with northeastern Ugandan.

As a result, Uganda is on high alert and closely working with the Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa (DLCO) on battling locusts in the Horn of Africa region.

The DLCO warned last week that the swarm causing havoc in the east and Horn of African region is likely to move to Uganda, South Sudan and southwest Ethiopia.

Experts have warned that an invasion of locusts would wreak havoc by destroying crops and vegetation and cause famine in the country.

A very small swarm of locusts covering one square kilometer can eat as much food in one day as about 35,000 people, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Uganda last experienced a major locust invasion 70 years ago, with immense damage on crops, according to the agriculture ministry. Enditem

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