By Spy Uganda
Uganda has deployed soldiers to fight African armyworms, which have so far destroyed 13,000 acres of crops in the East African country.
Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja told the parliament that the government has dispatched inspectors to aid in surveillance and provide guidance on pest control, and that 1,000 military personnel earlier trained to fight the locust invasion will support the ground spraying.
The most affected crops include maize, millet, sorghum, wheat, sugarcane as well as pastures.
The government said the invasion by the African armyworms, scientifically known as Spodoptera exempta, has spread to over 40 districts and is causing massive destruction of crops and threatening the livelihoods of people in those affected districts.
Agriculture Minister Bright Rwamirama said the invasion was first reported in March and in less than a month, about 1,407 farmers have so far been hit by the destructive worms.
“The invasion is currently spreading quickly because of windy and dry weather as well as delay in rains. It is only the caterpillar stage that is destructive, so when the rains come they will be washed away, but in case the rains do not come soon, we shall widen the intervention,” Rwamirama said.
About 70% of the country’s working population is engaged in agriculture, which is central to food security and economic growth and contributes about 22% of the GDP.
Around 23,000 liters of the recommended insecticide known as Cypermethrin 5EC, 100 motorized pumps, and 200 sets of protective gear have been sent to the affected districts.