PAKWACH Pakwach district officials have disagreed on bush burning as an ideal method of eradicating desert locusts invading different districts in Uganda.

This comes in the wake of reports that some isolated cases of locusts were sighted at Wadelai government prison farm on Saturday.

The report forced the office of the resident district commissioner (RDC) together with that of the chief administrative officer (CAO) to sermon all the extension workers in the disaster preparedness department for an emergency meeting over the matter on Monday.

During the meeting, Mr Swaib Toko, the RDC said the district is on high alert following reported cases of locusts in the area.

He said, as a result, Pakwach is intensifying surveillance by sensitizing the community to report any strange insects to the sub-county extension workers for immediate action.

As one of the cheapest ways of eradicating the insects, Toko encouraged locals to go for bush burning as they wait for the government’s comprehensive plan of spraying the desert locusts.

But his suggestion raised an uproar from the extension workers who argued that bush burning has no scientific proof of controlling locusts.

They instead said Toko’s proposal will harm the desert locusts and destroy the eco-system of other living organisms.

According to Mr Robert Canpara, the Pakwach district senior entomologist, the locusts cannot rapidly be eradicated by bush burning as they are highly migratory.

"Our worry is how many bushes we shall burn to totally kill all the locusts given their rate of multiplication. This method is not realistic," Canpara said.

However, Ms Stella Abyeto, the Pakwach CAO also concurred with Toko on grounds that the invasion should be dealt with locally as the government seeks a lasting solution.

"Let's treat this as a Pakwach problem, the outcome of this meeting will inform government on the next course of action. I'm aware the government may release funds to districts that have shown a high level of preparedness", she said.