Uganda ready for future locust outbreaks – FAO’s Antonio Querido


Antonio Querido, representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), revealed that Uganda is now ready to fight locusts in the event of an invasion.

Querido said that unlike two years ago, when locusts found Uganda in an offside position, “now, with the help of FAO and other development partners, the country can crush these merciless locusts “.

“The locusts were not considered a threat, so when they invaded the country we were not prepared but since then we have been working on a list of agricultural interventions with the support of the UPDF in terms of hand -work, ”he said.

Adding: “We were able to prepare the response by providing the right tools. In terms of surveys, if we have an incoming swarm situation, we have trained people at the district level who can report in real time to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF).

Querido made the remarks while speaking to ChimpReports on the sidelines of the National Dialogue on Disaster and Risk Preparedness at Speke Resort, Munyonyo in Kampala on Thursday this week.

On February 9, 2020, Uganda was invaded by Desert Locusts from western Pokot in Kenya through Amudat district, which then spread like bushfires to 26 districts in the sub-region of Karamoja, Teso, Lango, Acholi, Sebei and Bugisu, destroying crops, culminating in widespread famine due to poor harvests in affected areas.

Uganda has deployed different ministries, departments and agencies like; MAAIF, UPDF and development partners who have fought and eliminated locusts by September 2020.

However, earlier this year FAO, in its March 3 locust update, reported that swarms had been seen in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

“Control operations are continuing in Ethiopia and Kenya against still immature swarms. Good progress has been made, especially in Kenya where swarms are no longer arriving from the north. The swarms that are presently present in the northern and central regions are smaller and much less numerous than a year ago, ”part of the statement said.

FAO and the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) subsequently donated an assortment of equipment to the government to help it prepare for future invasions.

JICA donated 22 motorcycles to help transport the surveillance team, while FAO donated 3 double cabin vans, 236 surveillance kits (smart phones and accessories), 50 pieces of spray pumps ULV and 2 mobile storage facilities.

Querido told ChimpReports that FAO is always doing more to ensure Uganda is no longer affected by locusts.

Antonio Querido, the national representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization

“I discussed the institutional dimensions with the government. Creating new structures within ministries is not an easy task, but what we agreed is that we deal with the department that best deals with crop diseases. They have created a specific unit which is now well trained, with a critical mass in terms of expertise on locusts to better respond, ”he said.

Adding: “I have set up structures in terms of logistics in the region in terms of pesticides, how to better manage at the local level, we have trained more than 2000 UPDF workers in terms of pesticide management, how to manage these deserts. locusts and ideas to continue building that capacity and preparedness for the response. “

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