Ministry of Agriculture needs Shs 20bn for foot & mouth vaccines

KAMPALA – The Ministry of Agriculture needs a 20bn supplementary budget to buy foot and mouth vaccines for animals in the cattle corridor.

The money, half of which will also be used to procure motor bikes for the Veterinary Officers in the same area.

The cattle corridor districts include; Isingiro, Kazo, Sembabule, Gomba, Nakasongora, Lyantonde, Mubende, Luwero, Nakaseke and some districts in Teso and Lango regions and Karamoja region.

The Minister for Agriculture, Frank Tumwebaze told the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, that out of the funds required, Shs.15bn would be used to buy at least 4 million doses of the vaccines that is expected to cover up to about 15 million heads of cattle.

“We shall need to procure a minimum of four million doses of the foot and mouth vaccines to cover the animals in the cattle corridor,” Tumwebaze said.

The cattle corridor districts of Sembabule, Lyantonde, Kazo and parts of Gomba have been locked in the cattle quarantine for a period of at least one year due to the infectious disease that affects animals.

Tumwebaze says, vaccination would be free to all farmers, and at some point it would be made mandatory.

“This disease causes severe production losses, and while the majority of affected animals recover, they become weak and unproductive. That is why we need to vaccinate at the onset of the disease,” he added.

Scientists have reported that areas neighboring game reserves and parks are prone to attacks, as animals share grazing fields with the wild animals.

Lyantonde, Kiruhura, Isingiro and Kazo all share boarders with Mburo National Game Park, while Nakasongora and Nakaseke have a similar challenge.

According to the Minster, part of the funds will be used to procure at least 30 motor bikes for each of the cattle corridor districts, to facilitate veterinary officers to attend to the animals.

“We shall use Shs 500 million for procurement of 30 motorcycles for each of the thirty districts in the cattle corridors,” Tumwebaze told the Committee.

Another Shs 900 million would be used for procurement of veterinary medical supplies, for the veterinarians to use.

Other beneficiaries of the supplementary allocation would be districts along the livestock trading routes, that are also prone to attacks.

These include districts like; Masaka, Kalungu, Lwengo, Mpigi, Mbale, Kumi, Katakwi, Lira among others.

The Ministry plans to start the vaccination exercise before the disease spreads during the wet season, and aims at covering at least 90% of the nation livestock population.

Foot and mouth disease spreads much in the wet seasons, when livestock movement is unlimited especially close to the wild game.

According to the National Animal Census conducted in 2020, Uganda reportedly has at least 58 million heads of cattle, with a high concentration in the cattle corridor.

The disease is reportedly widely spread by the migrant cattle keeping communities that roam the cattle corridor, although livestock traders are also to blame for the same.

The exercise will also include 16 million goats, 5 million sheep, pigs and other animals.

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