The ministry is now working with security agencies to ensure that the vice stops for the good of the livestock industry in the country
The ministry of agriculture animal industry and fisheries has blamed the increase in the spread of animal diseases such as hand, foot and mouth disease and Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) on indisciplined farmers.
After knowing that the animals are sick, farmers sneak them into neighbouring districts and sell them while traders keep on smuggling sick animals into the. Some do not administer the given drugs in time and the recommended quantities, increasing resistance of some diseases in cattle to drugs.
The observation was made by the director animal resources in the ministry, Dr Juliet Sentumbwe, during a farmer’s field day, organised by Fresh Dairy, to teach farmers different farming practices in the dairy value chain.
“Some of these diseases are spreading due to indiscipline of cattle traders, farmers who move livestock especially cattle from one village to the other and traders who smuggle diseased animals into the country,” said Ssentumbwe.
CBPP is an infectious disease of cattle caused by bacteria. It causes inflammation and enlargement of the lungs leading to sudden deaths among animals. It is spread by inhaling air droplets from coughing or sneezing animals that are infected.
Foot and mouth disease is a contagious viral disease in livestock like cows, pigs and goats, causing acute fever, weight loss and low conception rates. It can also be transmitted to humans through direct contact with a sick animal.
Sentumbwe added that to stamp out the vice, there is need for increased vigilance at the border points of the country, but also by farmers reporting to the nearest authorities like veterinary officers in case of suspicious diseases from livestock they have not been seeing in their localities for check-up.
“Failure to do so, more animals will be affected by the disease, and diseased animals are less productive. That means there will be no supply of milk or any other animal product for sale so farmers can earn, therefore, protecting livestock from diseases must be taken seriously by both traders and farmers,” Sentumbwe said.
She said the ministry is now working with security agencies to ensure that the vice stops for the good of the livestock industry in the country.
Sentumbwe added that the ministry has already written to the finance ministry for additional funds for the purchase of vaccines. They are also calling on investors with specialty in the manufacture of animal drugs to set up in Uganda to address the disease burden among livestock in the country.
“These will complement efforts of researchers a NARO working on vaccines for ticks and tick-borne diseases and Makerere University working on several researches to get rid of animal diseases. The diseases of focus at the moment include tick-borne diseases and CBPP,” she explained.
Meanwhile, a committee to review fake agro inputs including those meant for livestock, has been set up and will be meeting periodically to ensure that those into the sale of all agro inputs are checked to protect livestock and the agriculture sector in general.
Some of the issues raised by farmers during the field day include the need for payments of milk supplies after every ten days, increase in fake drugs for animal diseases and need for water supply in Mubende specifically for livestock among others.
John Gethi, the director milk procurement at Fresh Dairy, explained that the field day was aimed at educating farmers especially now which is the start of the second rainy season.
He added that the ultimate goal is to ensure sustainable milk production.
“We want farmers to be able to produce milk throughout the year, consistently. We do not want a situation where farmers can produce milk when it is the rainy season alone, but want a situation that even in the dry weather, famers can produce milk even more because that is when there is more demand,” said Gethi.