Desert Locust Control: Russia extends Support to Uganda. Excerpt from Ministerial Statement

Entebbe, 8th June 2020. The National Task Force for Desert Locust Control has received recognition for effective control of Desert Locusts and support from the Embassy of Russia in Uganda for increasing preparedness in the face of forecast invasions announced by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

The partner institutions were represented by: Hon. Vincent Ssempijja the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Henry Aggrey Bagiire the Minister of State for Agriculture, H.E Alexander Olyakov the Russian Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Antonio Querido the Country Representative for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and Mr. Steven Byantwale the Commissioner for Crop Protection in MAAIF.

The following is an excerpt from the statement presented by Hon. Vincent Ssempijja the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.

I welcome you to this auspicious occasion at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries headquarters when friends to this country are here to announce support towards control of the desert locusts that first invaded this country from Kenya on 9th February, 2020 through Amudat and Moroto districts.

Hon. Vincent Ssempijja the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries speaking during the ceremony in Entebbe.

Following the first invasion, the country has had two other invasions; on 14th April, 2020 and 16th May, 2020.

During the last invasion of 16th May, 2020, a mixture of mature and immature locust swarms covering over 400 hectares entered Kapedo and Karenga in the North Eastern part of Uganda and these were controlled by the DLCO EA aircraft.

On the 20th May, 2020 more swarms were observed that settled in Kaabong and in Kathile, Karenga district. These were controlled by the UPDF Desert Locust Control team through ground spraying and some of the splinter swarms are suspected to have flown into South Sudan.

To take you back, at the onset of the invasions, government of Uganda put in place structures to guide and implement the control operations including the following Committees: –

  • The Inter-Ministerial Policy Committee on Desert Locust control chaired by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.
  • The Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee (National Task Force) on Desert Locust Control.
  • The MAAIF Desert Locust Committee under which are various sub-committees that support the Desert Locust control efforts including the inputs sub-committee, Health and Safety sub-committee, Awareness and Sensitization sub-committee among others.
  • Sensitization and awareness creation

These Committees developed the Desert Locust Control Contingency Plan, that has been under implementation, with the following output areas:

  • Sensitization and awareness creation
  • Capacity building for all stakeholders
  • Surveillance, monitoring and mapping of the Desert Locust spread
  • Ground control operations
  • Aerial control operations
  • National Coordination and Regional collaboration
H.E Alexander Olyakov the Russian Ambassador to Uganda speaking at the event in Entebbe. The Ambassador announced the contribution of US$ 3M from the Government of Russia towards Desert Locust Control in Uganda.

It is against this Contingency Plan that government has controlled the Desert Locust spread and received support from various partners and donors including FAO (US $ 500,000 – through a Technical Cooperation Project); World Bank; Government of the Peoples Republic of China etc.

Further support, for which we are sincerely grateful, is to be announced today to respond to the current predictions as the country braces for more Desert Locust invasions. Your support in this area is indeed timely.

It is worth noting that Uganda has within the region conducted a more successful Desert Locust Control program thereby averting a potential loss of over US$ 800M arising from crops protection of food and cash crops in the affected areas. That said, the efforts to promote food security remain

It is at this juncture, that after considerations of all the challenges experienced in the field; I propose that you consider the following areas of support:

  • Provision of 10 Field Trucks for manpower transport (Special Russian             Design)
  • Provision of 10 Field Trucks for transport of Pesticides, Pumps, Empty containers and other waste for safe disposal)
  • Support with 5(five) Double Cabin pickups to provide transport for the operational field office at Soroti Flying School.
  • Support with 26 (Twenty-six) Motorcycles and Desert Locust surveillance equipment for the District teams involved in Desert Locust Surveillance.
  • Construction of a storage facility for the Desert Locust control inputs from Government and various Donors.
  • Field camping equipment and temporary field storage tents.

Lastly I thank you for the generous support towards ensuring food security for our people.

For more on Desert Locust Control in Uganda: