Bukedea, Uganda: Uganda’s 11th Parliament Speaker Anita Annet Among who doubles as Bukedea District Woman Member of Parliament on Tuesday woke up in shock after receiving news that her 50 cows had succumbed to deadly Foot and Mouth Disease.
It is said that recently the district was hit by this disease and on Tuesday alone over 107 cows were registered dead due it.
“Actually, personally I have lost over 50 cows and it is really a very serious issue. So we want to hear from the Ministry of Agriculture, what are you doing on the foot and mouth disease?” the Speaker said.
She made the revelation during the plenary sitting while reacting to a concern raised by Faith Nakut (DWR Napak) who called on the Ministry of Agriculture to avail vaccines for farmers to vaccinate their animals against the deadly disease.
Nakut informed Parliament that residents of Napak district reported death of livestock from a strange disease that has similar signs and symptoms as foot and mouth disease, adding that similar reports have been reported across Karamoja, Teso and other cattle corridors in Uganda.
“The livestock sector contributes a lot to the economy anything that affects it affects the economy and in this difficult time, we must take action when we are required to do so. The Ministry of Agriculture needs to make an urgent assessment and provide the vaccines for all the livestock in Uganda,” she explained.
Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of livestock that affects cattle, swine, sheep, goats and other cloven-hoofed ruminants.
According to the World Organisation of Animal Health, the Foot and Mouth Disease is estimated to circulate in 77% of the global livestock population, in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, as well as in a limited area of South America.
The deadly disease presents a number of symptoms include; slobbering and smacking lips, shivering, tender and sore feet, reduced milk yield, sores and blisters on feet and raised temperature.
Nakut also asked the Ministry of Agriculture to provide guidelines on the quarantine of the affected animals so as to contain its spread to other animals.
“The Ministry of Agriculture should provide guidelines for isolation of the animals that are already affected so that we don’t push them into a lockdown given the economic challenges of locking down that sector. Parliament should consider providing resources required for routine vaccination of animals so that when we have a situation like this, we don’t come back to square one,” remarked Nakut.
Fred Kyakulaga, the State for Agriculture in response confirmed that the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has received reports of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Uganda and plans are underway to conduct a thorough assessment across the country, as farmers wait for the arrival of a consignment of vaccines that are going to be delivered by the 10th November 2022, although these vaccines won’t cater for the current outbreak.
Minister Kyakulaga added that the Ministry of Agriculture tabled before Cabinet a proposal on the vaccination campaign against foot and mouth disease.
“According to thus proposal, the answer to this challenge lies in doing a universal vaccination of all animals in the country and we do it on three rounds. But the universal vaccination goes with preventing animals from neighbouring countries from coming into the country,” he said.
He added that this exercise will require Shs500bn, funds the President said were huge to be catered for in the national budget and cautioned the Ministry of Agriculture to come up with more sustainable measures to fight the deadly disease