There is panic amongst the farmers, pastoralists and leaders in the Karamoja region as swarms of deadly desert locusts Sunday entered Uganda through Amudat District.
Government officials are currently meeting to prepare how to prevent the locusts that have ravaged several parts of Kenya, from spreading to other parts of Uganda.
The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda announced via a tweet that an emergency meeting of relevant political leaders and technical officers is being held to immediately administer the interventions that have been planned to deal with Desert Locusts.
Mr Martin Owori, the Commissioner Disaster Management Office of the Prime Minister, had earlier said that the Amudat District agricultural officer had reported that the locusts were about 4 kilometres away from the Kenya-Uganda border.
Latest reports show that the deadly insects were spotted in several parts of Amudat District at about 2pm on Sunday.
Reports say that the locusts entered Uganda via North West Pokot in Kenya, where they have destroyed hundreds of acres of vegetation.
Mr Robert Adyama, the Amudat District Resident District Commissioner said the locusts have started destroying vegetation. However, State Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Mr Moses Kizige called for calm.
More Information on Desert Locusts
Desert locusts, according to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) have destroyed vegetation in Kenya as they move toward Uganda.
They travel in dense, crackling swarms which can contain as many as 80 million locusts per square kilometre.
FAO says the locusts can live for up to five months, depending on weather and local conditions. They can lay eggs that can hatch after two weeks, with locusts maturing to adulthood in two to four months on average. They can destroy about 192 million kilogrammes of vegetation in two days.
According to Mr Owori, two air spray planes that have been hired will arrive in Moroto as soon as possible. Also, motorised sprayers that will be mounted on pickups and tractors are being mobilised to move to Karamoja sub-region.
He further explained that a team of UPDF soldiers and Uganda Wildlife Authority wardens are ready to assist officials from the Ministry of agriculture to spray the pests.
He also said all the necessary logistical materials that will be used by the teams, have been dispatched to the region.