Inhabitants of two villages in Lwengo district find themselves in a state of distress as black swallowtail caterpillars launch an onslaught, wreaking havoc on their farmlands. The affected communities of Kabusilabo and Kyenvunikidde, both nestled within Lwengo’s rural sub-county, heavily rely on agriculture for their sustenance.
These voracious black swallowtail caterpillars spare nothing in their path, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Fields once teeming with maize, beans, coffee, and other crucial crops now lay ravaged by this relentless pestilence. Desperate farmers are employing diverse methods in a bid to safeguard their harvests, as shared by Lawrence Kizito, the LC3 chairman for Lwengo rural.
Namukisa Betty, the village representative of Kabusilabo, voiced concerns about the peril not only to crops but also to human lives and chicks. She noted that these caterpillars tend to make their presence known predominantly during the dry season.
Betty explained, “In this cold weather, there are not many. They hide themselves, but when the sun shines, they emerge from their covers and spread everywhere. They dig holes in the ground, where they predominantly conceal themselves.”
Mwesigwa Cyrus, the Lwengo district entomologist, affirmed the threat posed by the caterpillars that have invaded Lwengo, emphasizing the urgent need for a response.
In light of the situation, local authorities and agricultural experts have been summoned to evaluate the crisis and provide guidance on combatting this caterpillar infestation. The villagers await a solution with bated breath, hoping to salvage the remnants of their harvests and avert further catastrophe.
Additionally, the fear of prolonged famine haunts the affected villagers, given that these caterpillars are relentlessly destroying their crops.
Nevertheless, the Lwengo district agriculture officer, Kampiire Mary, expressed regret over the financial constraints faced by the Lwengo district’s agricultural sector, acknowledging their inability to combat this infestation effectively. She implored, “There is an emergency here, and we need support to confront these caterpillars before they spread to other villages due to their rapid transmission.”
In response to the crisis, the Lwengo district RDC, Hajji Walugembe Ramadhan, assured residents that the government would take immediate action to protect crops, birds, and human beings who are under threat from these caterpillars.