Moroto district seeks UGX 230m for desert locusts surveillance

Moroto district seeks UGX 230m for desert locusts surveillance
Desert locusts

Moroto, Uganda | URN | Moroto district has requested for 234 million Shillings from the central government to enable it to carry out surveillance against the desert locusts. The budget was submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industries and fisheries, last week.

If granted, the money, according to the Chief Administrative Officer Charles Komakech Olubo will be used for field visits, monitoring the movement of the desert locusts, community sensitization and enhancing reporting mechanisms.

Moroto, like other districts in Karamoja has been on high alert since the infestation of desert locusts early this month. District authorities are observing developments in the desert locust infested areas as well as coordinating with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Kenyan authorities on movement of the destructive insects for timely interventions.

However, the districts recently, indicated that the task force teams on desert locust surveillance headed by the Chief Administrative Officers were struggling to meet the tasks due to limited funding. Olubo says they have asked the ministry for a contingency budget of 234million shillings to ease their work.

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However, state minister for Agriculture, Henry Bagiire is urging the district leaders to work selflessly in handling this emergency amidst resource constraints. He encouraged the agricultural officers to look beyond allowances while dealing with the crisis by offering technical support.

Tonny Mark Ocen, the Agricultural officer in Kotido maintains that their operations are hampered by the absence of a budget to facilitate their operations.

The government set aside 21 billion Shillings to handle the desert locust emergency. Most of the money has gone into the procurement of pesticides, pumps and protective gear. It has also secured a plane for aerial spraying.

During a press briefing this weekend, Musa Ecweru the State Minister for Disaster Preparedness said Uganda was on track in its efforts to control desert locusts. He said the procurement of the plane for aerial spraying was a major boost.