Dr. John Bahana,a consultant in the agriculture ministry and an expert on locusts says, “Locusts can be eaten but have a hard skin which requires a thorough preparation.”
A month ago, Uganda was warned about the invasion of desert locusts. On Sunday, they arrived from Kenya through Amudat in northeastern Uganda.
The loathsome desert locusts have devastated food supplies in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) describing the situation as the worst in 25 years.
Locusts may be destructive but we can’t rule out the fact that they are edible just like their distant relatives, the grasshoppers.
Grasshoppers are a delicacy in Uganda so can the locusts become.
Dr John Bahana, a consultant in the agriculture ministry and an expert on locusts, says, “Locusts can be eaten but have a hard skin which requires thorough preparation.”
“They have a high-fat content, so you can get fed up easily when you start eating them. Above all they cause constipation.”
Are you ready to munch on the likely new delicacy? I guess it is worth a try before the invasion is foiled.
Last invasion on Uganda
According to Dr Bahana, locusts last attacked Uganda in the 1940s and ’50s. Vast parts of the country were covered by the locusts, which left devastating destructions.
The last invasion consisted of both desert and red locusts.
Dr Bahana said Uganda hasn’t been attacked by the actual swarms. “Uganda is currently invaded by strugglers. They are locusts that have wandered away from their swarms.”
Bahana warns that large swarms are yet to attack the country. “We are expecting large swarms from Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia,” he revealed.
Facts about desert locusts
The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) locally known as emaathe, enzige, enzigye is a swarming short-horned grasshopper in the Acrididae family.
As the world’s most dangerous migratory pest species, the desert locust reproduces rapidly, migrates over long distances and has the ability to change their behaviour and appearance under particular environmental conditions.
The desert locust is herbivorous and can stay in a place for 17 hours and if strong enough can range3,000 miles in the lifetime and an average of 50- 300km per day.
Locusts feed virtually on anything green from crops, pastureland and forest cover. An adult locust eats an amount approximately its weight of 2-3gms per day.
Locusts can multiply 10- 20 times per generation and an adult female will lay up to 900 eggs in three months.
A swarm size of a square kilometer devours 100 – 160 tonnes of vegetation (crops and pasture) per day.
These locusts migrate in swarms of between 40 – 80 million insects. Locust movement is determined by wind patterns and vegetation availability.