UGANDA: DOLLAR SHARKS SHOULD GIVE AFRICA BREAK: WHY SPRAY GOD SENT MANNA WITH CHEMICALS?

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Journalist, Julius Ochumgi, in a garden invaded by locusts in Kitgum district February 12, 2020.

Commentary

“The oldest and most ‘dangerous migratory pest in the world’, desert locusts are about the size of an adult hand. Their appetite is ‘voracious’. A swarm the size of Los Angeles can eat as much food in a day as the people of Kenya. Locusts eat everything green, destroying the crops and pasture that families have been able to plant……Help our teams respond to this crisis and save lives. Donate now”-The humanitarian agency, Action Against Hunger’s report which was published online on Thursday February 13, 2020.

KITGUM-UGANDA: News that swarms of desert locusts, which were reported to have entered Uganda through Karamoja sub-region from neighboring Kenya on Sunday February 9, 2020, which then invaded Kitgum Municipality around Tuesday, found me deep in my home village at Ayuu Lupur, Palabek Gem sub-county, Lamwo district close to South Sudan border.

I had never seen desert locusts before and; at sixty-seven, I thought this was an opportunity for me not only to see locusts, but to taste it as well. This invasion also coincided with the arrival of the Saint Janani Luwum annual memorial foot pilgrims’ in Kitgum town the following day.

When I arrived in Kitgum town the following morning (Wednesday), I found there was a mixed grill of panic and excitement. There was panic and worry on most faces of people in town over the presence of locusts in the region because they were being bombarded with bad news about insect; that it will cause famine and starvation since they will devour anything green along their migratory path.

There were also excitements for the exemplary faith of the foot pilgrims who were on their final leg of completing a 510-kilometer walk from Kampala to Madi Opei then back to Wii-gweng in Mucwini following the footprints of the late Anglican Archbishop, Janani Luwum.

In the quotation I gave above, one of the dollar sharks, Action Against Hunger, describes desert locusts as ‘the oldest and most dangerous migratory pest in the world’, adding that ‘their appetite is voracious’. The conclusion of the article tells it all when the ended the article with the following statement: “HELP OUR TEAMS RESPOND TO THIS CRISIS AND SAVE LIVES.DONATE NOW”

Another publication, Mail Online, writes that “destructive plague of billions of locusts ravaging farmland in East Africa could grow 500 times bigger, Oxfam warns as it revealed one swarm is big enough to cover London”, adding “One ton of locusts eats as much food in a day as about ten elephants, 25 camels or 2,500 people. The insects can destroy at least 200 tons of vegetation per day”.

Alarmists and dollar sharks want the world to believe that desert locusts are ‘the most dangerous pests and plague’ for human consumption which should be destroyed scientifically by spraying them with ‘chemicals’ these sharks invented in a laboratory at a price they determine, usually ‘too expensive for poor Africans who live on less than one dollar per day.

According to an article published in Uganda’s Daily Monitor of Wednesday February 12, 2020, Mr. Steven Twibejuka who is the commissioner for crop protection in the Agricultural ministry, the Ugandan government buys these at about US$ 125.00 per liter from Japan. This can spray only 1-2 hectares of land.

Just imagine; if one swarm of locusts can occupy the entire size of London, then it means that all this money being injected to fight the spread of locusts in East and Horn of Africa goes to the manufacturers of such chemicals. Will anything remain to support this poor farmer in Kenya whose crops have been eaten up by the locusts? Nothing because it was not in the budget.

The same publication, Mail Online, reports that 25.5 million people in East Africa are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Millions of others are food insecure.

In the book of Exodus, chapter sixteen verse thirty-five, God is reported to have feed the children of Israel in the desert for forty good years with “Manna” which fell from heaven like rain everyday except on the Sabbath until they reached the borders of Canaan, the promised land.

A quick google search for nutrients in locusts revealed that desert locusts contain adequate amounts of iodine, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, magnesium, selenium plus low amount of carbohydrates.

My seventy-three years old elder brother in the village, Mr. Dominico Otika, revealed to me that he ate locusts when they invaded the village in 1962. He says locust should be boiled first and sun-dried before being eaten.  He says one should not eat too much of it.

According to journalist, Julius Ocungi, the Kitgum based Uganda Radio Network (URN) correspondent, some women of Akwang sub-county, in Kitgum district were actually sun-drying some of the desert locusts which invaded their sub-county when he went to the area to see the damage caused by the locusts on Wednesday February 12, 2020.

According to another publication, the SciDev Net of June 08, 2015, desert locusts could boost food security and offer protection against chronic diseases. It was quoting a study published in PLOS One on May 13, 2015.

“Researchers based in Kenya and United States assessed whether desert locusts contain high levels of chemicals known as phytosterols that could control heart-related diseases.

Mr. Baldwyn Torto, a scientist with International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (Kenya) says phytosterols block absorption of cholesterol-, a chemical which increases one’s risk of getting heart and other cardiovascular diseases.

Instead of spraying these god-sent swarms of locusts let the local poor community who live on less than one dollar a day catch and dry these locusts and they revert the funds spent on buying the chemicals and other imputes use in the work to buy these locusts in kilograms.

If you can offer US$ 10 for every kilogram of locusts sun-dried, then I can assure and guarantee you that lives in this unfortunate African continent will not only be transformed, but everybody will be healthier.

United Nation’s Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, should stand firm to safeguard and guarantee food security to Africans after their farmland has been contaminated by chemicals through excessive use of chemicals. Stop the use of pesticides in Africa.

  

 

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