Sheema: District Veterinary Officer calls for animal compensation policy

SHEEMA – Sheema District Veterinary Officer (DVO) has appealed to legislators to consider drafting the animal compensation policy.

This comes at a time when the district is battling a number of animal diseases since February 2020. The most recent, being African Swine Fever that has claimed more than 60 pigs in Kitagata sub-county.

These diseases include; Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), African Swine Fever and Lumpy Skin Disease.

“In February last year, we were battling Peste Petits Ruminants (the disease in small ruminants that is goats and sheep) where many died. If we had a compensation policy, it would not be the equivalent to the cost of quarantine when farmers are not trading,” said Dr Joseph Amanya, DVO Sheema district.

The DVO says, the compensation policy would help to tract the animal diseases in time whenever there is any outbreak.

Currently in Uganda, there is no policy gazzeted in the Animal Husbandry Act which allows compensation of farmers whenever they lose their animals.

“I think those are some of the issues that the Ministry of Animal Husbandry should work on because in such cases, we would have slaughtered all the animals and disposed them off and compensated the farmers to control the African Swine Fever there and then,” Amanya explained.

Speaking to Dr Ronald Bameka, the DVO Lyantonde, confirmed that the policy of compensation is being pushed in Parliament for disease control.

“There is an ongoing amendment on the animal policy in Parliament, we have been pushing for it,” says Bameka.

However, Bameka is worried about the determinations on who will get compensated and how much farmers will receive as compensation.

Approximately, Sheema district has around 60,000 goats and sheep, 35,000 heads of cattle and a total of 30,000 pigs reared among the 47,360 households in the district.

Amanya says, a total of more than 60 pigs have already died because of the current African Swine Fever in the district.

Alex Boona, one of the affected farmers confirmed the death of 21 pigs from his farm.

“I heard that there was a farmer who lost about 60 pigs, then my neighbor lost about five while I lost all the 21 pigs,” Boona said.

He appealed to the government for drugs to vaccinate the few remaining pigs in the district which Dr Amanya opposed saying, African Swine Fever has no treatment.

“It’s a viral disease and its not treatable and there is no vaccine that has been developed against African Swine Fever like any other viral disease,” Amanya replied.

He adds that being a transboundary disease, it has so far traversed to districts of Bushenyi, Sheema, Mitoma and Buhweju.

Dr Amanya also encouraged local farmers to start modern piggery farming in order to have a complete meaningful farming.

“We need people who are certified breeders, then those who make feeds, while others are fattening,” said Amanya.

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