Agriculture ministry demands more Shs16b to fight locusts

The Ministry of Agriculture has asked for another Shs16 billion to fight locusts.

The Minister of Agriculture, Mr Vincent Sempijja, said the money is needed to control the locusts that have now spread to 23 districts.

“We have asked for more Shs16 billion. Of this, Shs9b will be for the UPDF response team, Shs5.6b will be used to buy more chemicals and the rest shall be used to support lower local governments,” he told journalists in Kampala on Tuesday, February 25, 2020.

“Locust swarms have now been confirmed in the regions of Karamoja, Teso, Acholi, Lango and Sebei,” he added.

If the money is provided, it will bring the money allocated to locust control to Shs38 billion given that Shs22 billion had earlier been allocated for the purpose.

Mr Sempijja dismissed claims that the government has wasted the money earlier allocated for containing the locusts.

“The loss and risk to the country would have been greater if nothing had been done given the feeding patterns of desert locusts. Up to $218.3 million of crops would be at stake if we did nothing,” he said

The minister said the high demand from a number of countries battling with locusts such as Pakistan, Ethiopia and other countries is making it hard for Uganda to get the required chemicals for aerial spray.

Mr Sempijja added that no mature locusts, which experts say are more destructive, are in the country. “The existing swarms are classified as mature adult locusts that are mainly laying eggs,” he said.

He revealed that another huge swarm of locusts on Monday invaded Soroti District.

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