Luweero, Kiboga on alert amid resurgence of FMD

Cattle traders load animals on a truck at Wabigalo Sub-county, Nakasongola District, in 2018. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • This comes barely a year after a quarantine over the same disease was lifted in the area.

Livestock farmers in the Central Uganda districts of Luweero and Kiboga have been placed on alert over the resurgence of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the area.

An animal quarantine has already been placed in some sub-counties where the disease has been reported.

The affected are Kamira and Kikyusa sub-counties in Luweero District and Kyekumbya in Kiboga.
Dr John Bosco Tingira, the Kiboga District Veterinary Officer, explained on Tuesday that FMD was first detected among cattle in Lusanje Village, Buninga Parish in Kyekumbya Sub-county last week.

“More than 150 heads of cattle tested positive for the FMD disease when the district veterinary team conducted the tests. We have now stopped the transportation of animals, including the animal products, in the affected areas to contain the disease,” he said in an interview.

This comes barely six months after the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) lifted the animal quarantine that had been slapped on Kiboga and Kyankwanzi districts over the disease.

Authorities in Kiboga reveal that the district is now undertaking a mass vaccination campaign for all livestock using the vaccine recently released by the government.

The closure of the livestock markets with only about two weeks until the opening of the New Year academic term, according to the farmers and traders in Kyekumbye Sub-county, is a big blow to the parents, who sell the animals in order to raise school fees.

Mr Samuel Kanamawanga, a farmer in Kyekumbye Sub-county, Kiboga District, wants the government to avail the FMD vaccination doses for all the animals in the affected area so that the animal movement restrictions are lifted before the children go back to school.

“We are livestock farmers and our livelihood comes from the cattle sales. We also deal in animal products, including milk, but the animal movement restrictions will greatly affect our ability to pay school fees for term one,” he said.

The Luweero District Veterinary Officer, Dr Timothy Kasule, on Monday said the animal movement restrictions are meant to stop the spread of FMD to other areas.

“We have also embarked on the sensitisation exercise for the farmers. We are also waiting for a communication from the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries on the next course of action,” he said.

Mr David Kalungi, the Luweero District Secretary for Production, on Monday said they have received only 8,000 doses of the FMD vaccine yet the district has more than 100,000 animals that must be vaccinated.

“In Kamira Subcounty, the FMD has been detected in the parishes of Mabuye and Mazzi but the animals cross to the different villages in search of the water and pasture. We are currently controlling the animal movements,” he said.

Meanwhile, leaders of districts that neighbour the affected areas have called for vigilance among the farmers to avert the spread of the disease.

“Kalongo Sub-county in Nakasongola District shares the border and is a transit route for farmers from Kamira Sub-county in Luweero District. We need to alert our people in Nakasongola about the outbreak and ensure that animals don’t cross through these areas,” Mr Sam Kigula, the Nakasongola District chairperson, said in an interview on Monday.

The cattle corridor districts of Nakasongola, Luweero, Nakaseke, Kyankwanzi and Kiboga have had persistent FMD outbreaks in the past five years, with Nakasongola the most affected.

Mr Sam Kigula, the district chairperson, said the persistent FMD outbreaks have greatly affected the local revenue for the area in the past four financial years.