By Aligawesa Tonny
The Ministry of Agriculture has requested shillings 20 billion supplementary budget to procure foot and mouth disease vaccines.
The Minister for Agriculture, Frank Tumwebaze, told the Parliamentaty Committee on budget that shs 15 billion will be used to procure four million doses of the vaccines, which will cover 14.6 million head of cattle.
“We shall use shs 500 million for procurement of 30 motorcycles for each of the thirty districts in the cattle corridors, and shs 900 million for procurement of veterinary medical supplies,” Tumwebaze said.
Immediate beneficiaries according to Tumwebaze include the most at risk districts that border national parks, and districts that are along livestock traders transit routes.
These are Lango, Nakaseke, Ankole, Karamoja, Teso, Luwero, Nakasongola areas.
In February this year, five districts were quarantined by government due to the foot and mouth disease. These include Gomba, Isingiro, Kazo, Kiruhura and Sembabule.
Tumwebaze said that, “Vaccination is free, I am aware of the losses that farmers are likely to incur if they cannot sell their animal products or live animals.”
Tumwebaze said that vaccination should cover 90 percent of the national herd and should be done before the disease starts to spread, and this is why they need the supplementary budget urgently.
“This disease causes severe production losses, and while the majority of affected animals recover, the disease levaes them weakned and unproductive. That is why we need to vaccinate at the onset of the disease,” Tumwebaze said.
Tasked to estimate the number of livestock that would benefit from this vaccination in the country, Tumwebaze said that about 40 million livestock will benefit from the exercise.
“The 40 million livestock will include 16 million goats, 15 million head of cattle, 5.6 million sheep and 5 million swine,” the minister added.
The foot and mouth disease, according to veterinary experts is a viral disease of cloven-hoofed livestock. It was first confirmed in Uganda in 1953.