The Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt has committed US $ 230,000 for a one year pilot phase project to control the invasion of a new aquatic weed termed as the Kariba on major Ugandan lakes and riversAccording to Uganda’s minister of Agriculture Vicent Bamulangaki Sempijja the Egyptian support is to help his ministry in modifying the existing water hyacinth project equipment to suit the mechanical control of the Kariba weed.
He said the money will also be used for procurement of manual equipment for the removal of the weed.
According to the minister that Lakes Albert and Kyoga, and the River Nile have since2013 been invaded by the new aquatic weed termed as the Kariba Weed whose scientific name is Salvinia Molesta.
The minister says the weed has also been reported in the Lake Victoria basin and some fish ponds.
He said the cover and spread of the Kariba weed has reached alarming levels continuously affecting fisheries (fish breeding and nursery grounds), the water quality and quantity consequently having an effect on the drinking water supplies, hydro power generation, tourism and the transport system along these water bodies.
The weed interferes with the movement and docking of ferries and boats.
Minister Sempijja notes that the new breed of weed adds to the water hyacinth problem which though under control, has resurgence patterns that occasionally threaten the Uganda waters.
Like water hyacinth, the Kariba weed is considered as one of the world’s worst aquatic weeds.
The weed forms a mat which grows to choke waterways, blocking sunlight and oxygen from reaching the waters below, out competing other water plants that are beneficial to insects and the fish.
The weed also interferes with the movement and docking of ferries and boats.