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Serere farmers grappling with suspected swine fever outbreak

By Emmanuel Alomu

Added 25th February 2019 04:16 PM

Close to 100 pigs have died since the dry season started

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MP Patrick Okabe (2nd right) after distributing piglets to women in Olio sub-county. Photo by Emmanuel Alomu

Close to 100 pigs have died since the dry season started

Piggery farmers in Serere district have decried the increasing death of their pigs due to a suspected outbreak of African swine fever. 

Some farmers on Saturday raised concern that they have faced challenges in containing the disease since the dry season began. 

According to them, they cannot afford to purchase the drugs to fight the disease because of the high poverty levels they are faced with. 

The farmers are asking the sub-county veterinary officers to sensitise them on how to keep pigs and provide vaccines at a subsidised price. 

Betty Ariamo, a resident of Igola village in Olio sub-county said politicians are donating pigs to them but some of them die due to diseases. 

“You only realise that the pigs are weak in their knees, saliva is flowing from the mouth as well as mucus coming out of the nose but when you slaughter it, the meat is reddish or yellowish in colour,” Florence Atero of Kakusi parish said. 

Janet Ingwau, a resident of Akusaima village said close to 100 pigs have died since the dry season started and when they sell others, the buyers then realise that they are diseased. 

Daniel Akwenyu a resident of Serere believes that the lack of treatment of the piglets during this season has led to their death.

A catechist of Okulonyo Catholic Church, Michael Akol said difficulty in getting water for the pigs is a challenge because most water sources have dried up.

According to Igola village LC1 chairperson John Robert Ocheger, four pigs die every day in his area due to swine fever.

He said pigs are dying and will still continue to do so if Government does not rescue the farmers. Ocheger noted that educating their children will soon become difficult if all the pigs die. 

The farmers aired their grievances during the distribution of over 450 piglets to the women in Serere County. 

Bishop Patrick Okabe, the Serere County Member of Parliament, said the continuous exercise that he is conducting is aimed at improving the livelihood of women and their families. 

Okabe, however, said that he is working together with the sub-county veterinary officer to ensure that the piglets being distributed by him are treated, vaccinated and de-wormed to avoid contracting infections. 

The MP encouraged farmers to do commercial farming and not only subsistence farming, and he promised to give out over 4,000 kroiler chicken to women and youth in the constituency. 

Dr Collins Amonya, the Serere district veterinary officer, confirmed receiving reports of suspected cases of African swine fever especially in Pingire sub-county, adding that they have submitted the samples to scientists to identify the disease.

Amonya advised farmers to restrain their pigs because the disease has no vaccine and treatment but spreads through direct contact especially during dry season when animals are left to roam looking for pasture and water.

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