July 28, 2021


Livestock farmers in Ankole Sub-region, Uganda, seek to obtain FMD vaccines



Livestock farmers in Uganda's Ankole Sub-region are seeking government authorisation to acuqire foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccines to reduce the number of animal deaths.


Farmers from Mbarara, Isingiro, Ntungamo, Ibanda, Kiruhura and Kazo districts have been battling the disease since December last year when the government imposed quarantine. Although Uganda has supplied farmers with vaccines, they were inadequate for the whole region.


During a meeting with State Minister for Animal Industry Bright Rwamirama, farmers asked to be allowed to bypass procurement procudures.


"If there can be a policy to allow farmers to co-fund the procurement of vaccines, there can be regular vaccination of our herds. We know funding may be a problem but farmers are willing to make sure that there is availability of FMD vaccines," said Kiruhura veterinary officer Grace Asiimwe.


Peter Taremwa, a dairy farmer in Kazo District, said farmers want to buy their own vaccines as the government takes a long time to buy them.


"The challenge is that we have an outbreak in 40 districts…. yet, the government does not have the vaccines. The factory that produces across the border may not produce in time. So our appeal is that we use licensed drug (distributors) to buy drugs for our animals," said Taremwa. "We have farmer cooperative societies where drugs can be developed and be given licences so that they bring them to their farmers."


Kiruhura district chairperson Dan Mukaago Rutetebya questioned the vaccines used.


"About 15% of the farms that were vaccinated got reinfected so we need studies to access whether the issues were with the animals or the vaccine. Samples were picked and we shall get answers," he said.


Jovanice Rwenduru, a Kiruhura member of parliament, urged the government to find a permanent solution to FMD and called for regular vaccination.


"We can vaccinate cows consecutively for six years. Dairy farmers from Kiruhura only depend on cows for income so when they are affected, the economy is also affected. So we must look for vaccines that will last to ensure that income of the people is protected," said Rwenduru.


Meanwhile, minister Bright Rwamirama said the country is expecting 1.4 million doses of vaccines, adding that 500,000 doses were expected to be given to farmers on July 26.


- The Monitor