Communities Warned Against Eating Locusts
As desert locusts spread across northern Uganda, locals have been cautioned against eating the insects as they may have traces of chemicals that could pose a health risk to humans.
The government recently started spraying the insects with chemicals after they crossed into Uganda from neighbouring Kenya.
The UN has warned that the desert locusts pose a serious food security threat.
Rose Amono Abili, the Gulu District Secretary for Production cautioned locals locals not to eat the insects as they may have chemicals from the ongoing government spraying.
The government has procured Fenitrothion, cypermethrin and chlorpyrifos and is using it to spray locusts in Teso and Karamoja sub regions.
The Locust Control Organisation of East Africa (DLCO-EA), recommends the chemical, Fenitrothion, which is said to be safer to environment and with the least health effects on humans, birds and wild animals. The chemical is being used in Kenya where the locusts attacked before entering Uganda.
Ms Abili observed that if consumed in large quantity, the chemicals could accumulate in the body and pause a danger to life.
The Gulu District Entomology Officer, Alphonse Acaye, also sounded a similar warning against eating the insects. Mr Acaye explained that domestic animals can eat desert locusts sprayed with chemicals which can later find their way into humans. He said if consumed in large quantities, the chemicals have potential to cause cancer.
While addressing the press recently in Kampala, Steven Twibejuka, the Commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Animal Industry asked Ugandans to stop eating the locusts as much as they are edible. Twibejuka said the sprayed insects pose a health risk to humans.