By Prossy Nandudu
The agriculture ministry is to engage local governments with livestock markets, to agree on measures that will be used to control and manage livestock diseases.
Agriculture minister Frank Tumwebaze made the revelation while presenting Cabinet decisions before Parliament in relation to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) that has so far been detected in 36 districts, now under quarantine.
According to Tumwebaze, during cattle days, for example, Kamwema Cattle Market in Isingiro district, farmers bring in animals from different places, whether sick or healthy of which sick animals are rejected by the buyers and taken back home.
“Many times, rejected cows are sick cows, so they are taken back home, mixed with others and spread diseases. It is one of the leading causes of spread of animal diseases. So, can there be something to replace cattle markets, it’s something unpopular with local governments but let us openly debate it and beg for your co-operation when that time comes,” Tumwebaze told Parliament on Thursday.
His revelation was informed by concerns from Members of Parliament who demand for long term solutions to the management of livestock diseases including those fuelled by ticks.
10 million doses of vaccine
He also told Parliament that Cabinet has so far approved the purchase of 10 million doses of FMD vaccines to vaccinate animals in the affected districts.
He, however, added that priority will be border districts, which include Isingiro neighbouring Tanzania, districts neighboring Kenya, South Sudan and those with the highest population of affected heads of cattle.
Nathan Byanyima (Bukanga North County) demanded for both short term and long-term solutions to the management of livestock disease and increase in the surveillance of border markets.
“We cannot sell meat or milk, farmers are suffering. We need short term solutions, as we wait for the budget to be released for the purchase of the vaccines. But also, you are doing a fire brigade approach and you should give us long lasting solutions,” Byanyima said.
Robina Rwakoojo (Gomba West County) called on the ministry to first give affected farmers vaccines free of charge in the first batch.