UPDF Air force airlifts pesticides for control of locusts

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The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) on Monday airlifted equipment and pesticides from Kololo Airstrip to Moroto in support of government efforts to curtail further spread of locusts that invaded the country in Karamoja Sub-region.

The UPDF acted on request from the Office of the Prime Minister in line with one of its core functions of supporting civilian authority in times of emergencies as stipulated in Article 209 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution.

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The Commander Air Forces, Lt Gen Charles Lutaaya pledged continued timely support by the Air Forces to other stake holders in the fight against the spread of the locust and any other emergencies.
“Two aircraft safely delivered the equipment and drugs required to curtail the locusts. We remain on standby to respond at the shortest notice,” said Lt Gen Lutaaya.

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Hon Aggrey Bugiire said the support by the UPDF is part of integrated efforts and plans by the government to address the problem of locusts that entered the country through Amudat District.

Hon Bugiire said this in Kololo while witnessing the airlifting of the first batch of the locust control equipment and drugs. The Country Representative of Food and Agricultural Organization, Dr Antonio was also among the notables at Kololo Airstrip.

The UPDF has in the past responded to several other emergency situations such as floods and landslides as well as supported government health programs among others. The Force remains committed in executing all its functions and mandates in the interest of the people of Uganda.

Meanwhile, Desert locusts that invaded Uganda through Amudat District via North West Pokot in Kenya on Sunday, have spread to Nabilatuk and Nakapiripirit districts in Karamoja region. Goverment has reportedly procured 2,000 manual pumps and 18,000 litrers of cypermethrin and chlorpyrifos chemicals,

According to BBC, The government is relying on the army to be the backbone of its plan and intends to deploy 2,000 soldiers.
The soldiers will be trained to spray pesticides using manual and motorised equipment.
The most effective way to combat an upsurge of locusts is air spraying but Uganda does not have the aircraft and chemicals needed.

Uganda is negotiating with Kenya to borrow some of its planes. But its neighbour only has a small number of these aircraft and has been struggling to bring its own locust outbreak under control.

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