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South Africa

Uganda: Uganda Approves $1.8m in Efforts to Fight Locust Invasion

Uganda's Cabinet approves an extra $1.8 million to help fight the locust invasion.

This was after it came to be known that $3 million of the initial $4 million released for the same purpose was used to pay membership arrears to the Desert Locusts Control Organisation for East Africa (DLCO-EA).

DLCO-EA draws membership from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, and Djibouti.

According to the EastAfrican a local news platform, Uganda still owes the organisation an extra $2 million even after paying the arrears, Uganda, together with Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia, are the main defaulters.

According to the EastAfrican, the Country Representative for DLCO-EA, Mr Evarist Magara said that each member partner is supposed to pay $120,000 per year. Adding that Uganda's debt had grown to $5 million accumulated over nearly 30 years of non-payment. Sudan also owes $6 million to the regional organization.

The Commissioner for Crop Protection Mr Byantwale Tibaijuka , said the locusts migrated to Uganda from Kenya last weekend and have spread to at least six districts.

"The extra $1.8 million approved will be used for aircraft activities," Mr Byantwale said adding that negotiations are ongoing to have three aircraft from Kenya to help in spraying the procured pesticides.

On Tuesday, Aggrey Bagiire, the Minister of State for animal husbandry, said that 200 motorised pumps, 300 knapsack spray pumps, and 10,000 litres of chemical spray had been deployed.

2,000 soldiers have been deployed by the Ugandan government to push back the locusts.

Mr Bagiire said an expert from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) and another one from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation were helping together with national experts.

Early this year, the United Nations announced that it had released $10 million for aerial pesticide spraying in response to what has been described as the worst locust outbreak to hit East Africa in decades.

"It is the worst of its kind in 25 years for Ethiopia and Somalia, and the worst Kenya has seen in 70 years. Crops are being wiped out in communities that were already facing food shortages," said Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

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