By Patrick Jaramogi
Immediate efforts should be done to address the Acaricide resistance that is threatening the livestock industry, state minister for Agriculture in charge of Livestock, Bright Rwamirama has said.
Rwamirama pointed out that ticks had become resistant to the Acaricide and called for immediate response to address the problem that has greatly hit the South Western districts in Uganda.
Rwamirama observed that the government’s policy on increasing the output of animal products and improving productivity is seriously hampered by several constraints, especially ticks and the tick-borne disease issue. He said ticks had become the single most important constraint to the dairy industry.
In Uganda, the principal method employed to control tick-borne diseases is intensive dipping or spraying of cattle with acaricides to free them of tick vectors.
“Acaricide resistance is a big threat to the economy. Who is sabotaging the Acaricide research? The more we continue to use acaricides in treating ticks in animals the more we are endangering the lives of human beings and how much money are we using as a result of using acaricides?” asked Rwamirama.
He was speaking during an intersectoral meeting on Ticks organised by the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, National Drug Authority (NDA), Ministry of Health and Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine held in Kampala.
The meeting followed a presidential directive to the relevant government organs to fast track the “war” against ticks. President Yoweri last year ordered scientists and veterinary experts to work hard and devise means of ending the resurgence of tick in cattle.
“Ticks are responsible for almost the 90% of the cattle deaths in Uganda which is a big loss to farmers and the economy at large” The president noted.
The president also said that ticks have grown resistance to most of the pesticides on the market.
Rwamirama said the resistance to ticks had led to death of scores of cattle in the districts of Kiruhura, Bushenyi, Mbarara, Kyegegwa,
Sembabule and Sheema.
He urged NDA to ban acaricides that are not effective in treating ticks.
“We discovered that the resistance was caused due to poor use by farmers, low dosage, and use of un-effective pumps and re-infection and adulterated acaricides. If an investors brings stuff that is harmful to our people, he must be stopped period,” said Rwamirama.
Health Minister Dr. Rukakana Rugunda in a speech read by Dr. Isaac Ezati the director for Planning said there is evidence that ticks were becoming resistance to acaricides and called for a national acaricide regulation policy in the country.
Gordon Sematiko the Executive secretary National Drug Authority said much as NDA tries to ensure quality at the point of entry, it is hard to control quality when it is being used in the farms. “All the acaricides that we called from the open markets passed our lab tests.
But there is need to revise the veterinary drug list. And advise farmers to stop irrational use of acaricides,” said Sematiko. He noted that they had discovered that most farmers don’t use the correct doses while others use pumps designed for spraying tomatoes to spray their cattle.
“We found some farmers using brooms while some farmers have resisted our advise to change to new forms of acaricides,” he said.
Patrick Vudriko a scientist from the Makerere University of College of Veterinary Medicine who carried out the research on tick resistance across the country noted that the ticks had become resistant to synthetic pyrethroids.
“The findings indicated that farmers were using acaricides but the ticks were not dying yet they were losing animals at a high rate,” said Vudriko. He highlighted Sheema, Bushenyi, Kiruhura, and Mitooma districts in South Western Uganda as the hardest hit.
Vudriko noted that the use of amitrax yielded better results in killing of ticks compared to the common synthetic pyrethriods that is preferred by most livestock farmers.
“Extensive movement of animals should be restricted and all animals in the farms should all be subjected to tick spray,” he said. He said their research had discovered that much as farmers sprayed cattle, goats, sheep and hens acted as reservoirs for the ticks.
“Most people we found in the drug shops didn’t have any knowledge regarding dispensing of animal drugs, and something must be done to address this,” he advised.
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Acaricide resistance hurting livestock industry, says minister