By Gladys Kalibbala
A Tsetse fly breeding center worth sh680m has been launched at the National Livestock Reasearch Institute (NALIRI) in Tororo district.
The center whose construction started in 2007 but work stagnated due to problems with the first contractor, was constructed with support from International Atomic Agency. Its purpose is to help fight sleeping sickness and Nagana which are transmitted by Tsetse flies.
The Minister of State for Animal Industry Bright Rwamirama who officiated at the opening ceremony explained that the center will breed male sterilized tsetse flies.
Breeding of the flies has already started according to Fredrick Luyimbazi, the assistant commissioner for entomology at the ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.
“We have a collecting centre for the tsetse fly eggs at Buvuma Island and soon we will be breeding about ten thousand male sterilized flies per week at the newly launched centre,” Luyimbazi explained.
Thanking the International Atomic Agency for the support Luyimbazi explained they used to import blood to feed the insects from abroad but now there is no need.
“We lacked radiation to help in the sterilization process for clean blood but we now have a source,” he commented. The sterilized male flies which are harmless to either the population or animals will be released into the wilderness to mate with the female but will not be able to produce or transmit disease.
Luyimbazi says the flies will be released after conventional interventions like baits, laying traps as well as the aerial spraying are carried out.
Rwamirama promised to restock the area in Tororo which the Resident District Commissioner Godfrey Ddamulira Kyeyune revealed had lost almost all their animals to Nagana.
“It has rendered the people very poor and milk goes for sh2, 000 a litre because it comes from outside the district, “Kyeyune says.
Rwamirama noted that more than 75% of Ugandans who live in rural areas earn their living through agriculture. The agriculture sector contributes 21% to the country's GDP, while the livestock sub-sector accounts for about 8% of the agricultural GDP. Uganda is also endowed with livestock, with a population of 11.4 million cattle, 12.5 million goats, 3.4 million sheep and 3.2 million pigs, according to data released from Uganda Bureau of Statistics in 2008. Unfortunately diseases like Nagana are affecting the animal production sector according to Rwamirama.