The country’s response team on desert locusts last week received an aircraft from the Desert Locust Control Organisation of East Africa (DLCO-EA) to help in surveillance and aerial spray operations of the locusts.
On Tuesday, the Minister told journalists that the government has hired another aircraft undergoing repairs at Kajjansi airfield as well as the UPDF choppers that have been modified to help in spraying.
“We have been modifying UPDF helicopters to help us in spraying but the aircraft from the Desert Locust Control Organisation and another one we hired and is currently at Kajjansi are all available,” Ssempijja said.
“We also have a UPDF helicopter used to do surveillance at night but there are certain modifications we want to add onto it.”
The Minister revealed whereas the UPDF choppers are currently spraying, they fly at a lower level and cannot be as effective as the two specialized aircraft including the one got from Kenya.
Ssempijja, however, noted that the aircraft from DLCO-EA and the one hired will have to wait for at least three days before the chemicals used to spray arrive from Japan.
“The two aircraft don’t use the same chemicals as the other UPDF helicopters. They use a different chemical which is currently not in the country but is likely to be here in four days.”
The Minister said that the shs16 billion additional budget will be used to fight the hatched hoppers but also prepare for new swarms that are expected in the country at any time.
He explained that the money will be used to buy chemicals used by the two aircraft that have recently been acquired to aid in an aerial spray of the desert locusts but also the ground spraying since new swarms have entered and many others are expected any time from now.