By Joshua Kato
The menace of the Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) continued to ravage through most of the cattle corridor districts on Uganda.
Through 2022, most of the districts in western Uganda including Isingiro, Kiruhura, Mbarara, Lyantonde, Sembabule, Kyotera, Rakai, Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Nakaseke, parts of Teso and Karamoja were under varying degrees of quarantine due to FMD.
“It is a threat that refuses to go away. It affects not just beef, but also milk production,” said Betty Mbaziira, a farmer in Isingiro district.
The disease is a viral disease that affects cattle, goats, sheep and pigs among other domestic animals. In Uganda, the livestock population stands at 14.8 million head of cattle, 16 million goats, 5.4 million sheep and 5 million pigs.
But the FMD also affects the related cloven (two) hooved wild animals like the buffaloes, antelopes and wild pigs.
FMD control is complex, needs a lot of resources; human, structural, consumables and financial to control the disease, according to Bright Rwamirama, the agriculture state minister for animal husbandry.
Rwamirama said animal products must be appropriately packaged to avoid spillage. “Milk should be transported in cans to the milk bulking centres ensuring spillage.”
The Government continued with efforts to vaccinate the vulnerable cattle. In April 2022, according to Rwamirama, the Government procured 2.4 million doses of the FMD vaccine for distribution across the county.
“We have planned to administer the vaccine strategically in affected areas, high risk areas and transit routes. FMD vaccine is procured by the Ministry of agriculture and provided to the farmers through the district veterinary officers. FMD vaccine is free,” Rwamirama said. The vaccination was still on-going as the year ended.