President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has advised the Council of Ministers of the Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa (DLCO-EA) to retool and acquire sophisticated equipment to fight locusts.
According to the President, this will greatly prepare the organization to be able to technically eradicate the Desert Locust swarm, which poses a serious threat to agriculture-based livelihoods in East Africa.
The President, while addressing the Council of Ministers of the DLCO-EA at State House-Nakasero on Friday, noted that the best time to spray locusts is at night when they are unable to fly.
Museveni recalled that when locusts invaded Uganda and caused havoc for residents of Otuke in Northern Uganda and Karamoja in 2020, the helicopter provided to fight locusts almost failed because it could not fly at night.
He said the government had to involve the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF).
“I totally agree that you should reform, especially technologically,” Museveni said.
He added that the little aircraft being managed by DLCO-EA doesn’t fly both at night and early in the morning, so by the time it starts flying at 10am, the locusts are already flying.
“The army was effective because it started killing them at night when they couldn’t move,” the president noted.
So, we should have a stronger aircraft, maybe with night vision, able to spray at night so that we finish the problem quickly because all the night hours were wasted, ” he further noted.
According to the President, management of Desert Locusts should become a responsibility of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa.
He further noted that because IGAD is dealing with drought and so on, you can think about the concept of IGAD Plus.
The president said he would propose to Tanzania’s President to join the IGAD in the fight against locusts.
” They (Tanzania) may not be members of IGAD, but for the purpose of locusts, we can mention it to Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan,” Museveni said.
The president confirmed that Uganda would pay all its arrears.
The DLCO-EA is a United Nations (UN) registered organization established by an international convention signed by all member countries in 1962 to support member countries in the prevention and control of migratory pests and any emerging pests that threaten food security in the member countries.