The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is prioritizing vaccination of livestock against Foot and Mouth Disease in all districts along the Uganda- Tanzania border. This follows reports of cross border grazing and illegal cattle trade.
The two activities have been cited as the major reasons why there is an escalation of FMD in the cattle corridor in southwestern Uganda. The districts to receive priority include Isingiro, Rakai, and Ntungamo.
The farmers from Isingiro district on Wednesday told the Minister of Agriculture Frank Tumwebaze and his Deputy Bright Rwamirama that the disease is on the increase due to several farmers who graze their animals in Tanzania and traders who cross into the country for cheap animals.
Enock Nuwabeine, a cattle farmer from Bukanga said that the district leadership has failed to stop the illegal cattle trade and cattle grazing along the border between Uganda and Tanzania.
“We have reported to authorities about cross border grazing and cattle trade but no action of preventive measure to curb the vice which s increasing the FMD spread,” he said
Jessica Musiime a cattle farmer from Endiizi said that Ugandan traders spend days with cattle brought in from Tanzania in their area for days which spreads FMD. She said this has also escalated cattle theft in the district.
“Some cattle dealers bring in cattle from Tanzania and keep them on their famers for days before loading them to Kampala which is affecting fight of FMD and facilitating its spread,” she said.
Bernard Nuwagira a farmer from Bukanga said that most traders in the district cross and buy the cattle from Ahakaribatiriro Cattle Market in Tanzania. He noted that the traders use porous routes to cross cattle into Uganda.
The District Production officer Aloysius Karugaba said that Foot and Mouth disease outbreak commonly occurs in the 5 sub-counties of Endinzi, Mbaare, Bugango Town council, Kashumba and Kakamba which border Tanzania.
He also attributed the escalation of the disease to some farms which were taken during the Uganda- Tanzania border re-demarcation exercise in 2003. He explains that thousands of cattle graze in Uganda at night and move across the border during the day.
“The disease is facilitated by farmers who move with their cattle from Uganda to Tanzania in search of pasture especially during dry season and this in turn brings in new cases of FMD,” he indicated
Tumwebaze asked the cattle farmers and leaders to be vigorous in implementation and enforcement of the quarantine regulations.
“We appeal to farmers because you’re the key stake holders to monitor and implement the quarantine in your respective areas in order to manage FMD,” Tumwbaze said
The Government recently procured 1.4 million FMD doses from Kenya and received only 500,000 doses which were distributed to 52 districts.
Isingiro district has a cattle population of 180,000 heads of cattle but received 40,000 doses of vaccine for the affected sub-counties.