ZOMBO: Flashlight grasshopper harvesters decry high costs of electricity

The scene of grasshoppers flash light harvest in Mvungu- Paidha town council. (Photo by Hillary Alithum)

Zombo, (UG): Businessmen and women in Paidha Town Council, Zombo District who invested heavily in the flashlight grasshoppers harvest systems are decrying increased operational costs of daily purchase of electricity to power the flashlight bulbs to which the unprecedented (seasonal) grasshoppers.

The edible insects with nutritional values of dietary fibres and fats are attracted while noting that they spend a minimum of 20,000 shillings on the purchase of yaka units.

A section of individuals who invested in the flashlight harvest of grasshoppers speaking to DailyExpress articulated how they processed loans from banks, Saccos and other saving groups to aid the purchase of the necessary equipment such as flashlight bulbs, iron sheets, power coils, wires, operating licenses and renting land among other necessities, but the grasshoppers are not showing off and if they do it’s not evenly distributed to everyone.

They are now expressing fears for fund recovery as the believed peak harvest season is nearly coming to an end.

One of the affected grasshopper businessmen, a resident of Ovuruyindi village on Paidha Town Council who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity, conveyed his plight and appealed for pardon from the financial institutions indicating how he has so far invested in over 1.5 million shillings a loan he obtained from a local savings group but now stares at losses looming.

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“I confidently processed a loan worth 1.5 million shillings from my village savings group well aware that the sales of the grasshoppers would refund the loans but to date, I have harvested only 4 basins of grasshoppers, that was about 300000 shillings only. I request the financial institutions to go slow with the recovery processes of the loans,” he appealed.

Meanwhile, the regional power distributor, WENRECO (West Nile Rural Electrification Company), the entity charged with the mandate of distributing and selling electricity has vowed to institute punitive measures against individuals whose Torchlight grasshoppers harvest systems connection were not certified to operate.

Ms Judith Wangoic, the PRO of the entity announced in an exclusive interview with DailyExpress and echoed how people are currently harvesting grasshoppers via direct power supply which is unacceptable and liable for a hefty fine.

“Most people who are harvesting the nsenene are using direct supply but we are cautioning that once we get them, they will pay for this because we are aware that most of the connections are not done the right way putting lives of people harvesting nsenene at risk of electrocution,” Ms Wangoic said.

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The impact of the grasshopper harvest flashlight bulb is wide, ranging from directly affecting the eyesight, and skin of the body due to the intensity of the rays remitted.

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