UGANDA – The Lwengo district in Uganda is currently facing a crisis following the invasion of black swallowtail caterpillars that have destroyed their crops including maize and cassava.

Lawrence Kizito, the LC3 chairman for Lwengo Rural noted that fields of maize, beans, coffee, and other essential crops have fallen victim to this pestilence. Desperate farmers are struggling to fend off the invaders, using various methods to try and protect their crops.

The black swallowtail caterpillars have been devouring everything in their path, leaving a trail of destruction.

According to him, villagers heavily rely on agriculture for their sustenance, hence, the destruction of their crops by the caterpillars has left them in a state of panic.

“We urge the Ministry of Agriculture to come to our rescue by donating the recommended pesticide for killing these caterpillars,” decried farmers, adding that the severe damage to crops is exposing residents to imminent famine.

The Lwengo district entomologist Mwesigwa Cyrus confirmed the danger posed by the caterpillars that invaded Lwengo, noting that there is a need for immediate response.

Mr. Mwesigwa referred to them as Black Swallowtail Caterpillars that feed on leaves.

According to experts, the black swallowtail has two generations a year. The first group of butterflies emerges between late April and early June after having overwintered in the chrysalis while the second group of butterflies emerges in the late summer.

Local authorities and agricultural experts have been called in to assess the situation and offer guidance on how to combat this caterpillar infestation.

Villagers are anxiously waiting for a solution to this agricultural crisis, hoping to salvage what’s left of their harvest and prevent further devastation.

However, Kampiire Mary, the Lwengo district agriculture officer, expressed regret over the financial constraints faced by the district’s agricultural sector, citing their limited capacity to combat the infestation.

She called for emergency support to tackle the issue before it spreads to other villages due to the caterpillars’ rapid transmission.

The Lwengo district RDC Hajji Walugembe Ramadhan promised residents that the government is going to take action immediately to save crops, birds, and human beings who are threatened by the caterpillars.