Lyantonde, Sembabule lose over 700 heads of cattle in two months

Cattle feeding on dry pasture in Lyantonde District last week. PHOTO / GERTRUDE MUTYABA

What you need to know:

  • The Lyantonde District Veterinary Officer, Dr Ronald Bameka, says the dry spell that began in mid-June, extending through August, left the land bare and animals died due to lack of water and pasture.

While many parts of the country are currently experiencing some rain, possibly signalling an end to the dry spell, Lyantonde and Sembabule districts have reportedly lost more than 700 animals in the last two months.

The Lyantonde District Veterinary Officer, Dr Ronald Bameka, says the dry spell that began in mid-June, extending through August, left the land bare and animals died due to lack of water and pasture.

The affected districts are Nakasongola, Sembabule, Rakai, Lwengo, Kyotera, Kassanda, Mubende, and Bukomansimbi.

“Livestock farmers depend on the natural grass to feed the animals. The dry spell wiped out all the grass with the range lands left bare while many valley tanks got dry as a result of the dry spell,” Dr Bameka says.

Farmers have been prompted to trek to the neighbouring district of Kiruhura in search of pasture and water.

“The uncontrolled animal movement in search of water and pasture often resulted in the spread of disease including the Foot and Mouth disease that has contributed to the death of some of the animals,” Dr Bameka reveals.

Mr Yusuf Kasimba, a resident of Kyewanula Village in Lyantonde Rural, says government needs to extend piped water to villages.

“I foot water bills ranging between Shs770,000 and Shs800,000 per month to provide water to the animals and other activities that require water on my farm,” Mr Kasimba says.

Mr Fred Kalakule, the Lugusulu Sub-county chairperson, estimates that the farmers have lost more than 100 cows.

“The animals become vulnerable to the different diseases since they are already weak due to lack of enough pasture and water,” he says.

Dr Bameka explains that because animals experience stress resulting from starvation, their body immunity becomes weak.

“You cannot treat the animal when its immunity is low, it needs to be feeding well, even if you use the right drugs and doses, it cannot heal,” he says.

In Lyantonde District, only a few farmers can afford to buy water bowsers that cost Shs400,000 per day.

Mr Elly Kamugisha, a farmer in Kashagama Sub-county, says the price of cattle has also declined from Shs1m in June to Shs300,000 in August as a result of loss of weight.

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