By Caleb Bahikaho
Dairy traders are losing over 8,000 litres of milk in sales every day due to the quarantine imposed on cattle movement and their products.
This follows an outbreak of the foot and mouth disease in Karuhembe and Kebision in Rukungiri two months ago.
Can. Charles Karikatyo, the chairperson of Rukungiri Cattle Farmers' Association, said milk production in Rukungiri has been between 8,000 to 10,000 litres every day.
“Cattle farmers in this district are in trouble since their income was only from cattle and their products; we are not only failing to get money for school fees for our children, but also for buying drugs to treat our cattle,” he said.
He said cattle keeping is an expensive venture because you need to buy drugs every week either for spraying against ticks or other diseases.
“We stand to lose our cattle since we cannot even sell one animal to get money for drugs. I appeal to the commissioner for animals to come to our rescue before things go out of hand,” Karikatyo
Eastern division chairperson, Deus Kasibayo said: “The quarantine has affected everybody in the district. Children in towns are fed on milk and meat. They are refusing to take black tea or eat groundnut sauce and beans because they are not used to them on a daily basis.”
He added that hoteliers no longer have beef or milk on their menu which is crippling their businesses.
The district veterinary officer, Dr. Johnson Ninsiima, said cows in Kebisoni Sub-county were vaccinated against the disease but they are not yet sure if the disease has been wiped out.
“I submitted the report to my bosses in Entebbe. I am just waiting for their response,” he said.
“The onus of lifting the quarantine is with the commissioner for animals after ascertaining that the disease is no more,” he said.
He added that controlling the outbreak is costly for the government which is why they want to be sure that it has been completely eradicated before lifting the ban.
He also said that milk from an infected cow spreads the disease fast. He said when such a cow's milk spills on the ground and it gets in contact with other animals, they can contract the disease within six hours.
Boaz Okwakunda, who owns a milk collecting centre at Karegyesa road Rukungiri municipality, said he was paying a farmer between sh600 and sh800 per litre when the production was low and high respectively.
He said that milk traders are in trouble since they don't have anything to feed their children on as they were relying only on dairy business.