Isingiro district authorities have said that the illegal crossing by herdsmen at the Uganda-Tanzania border is escalating Foot and Mouth disease in the district.
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), a viral disease of cloven-hoofed livestock was confirmed recently in the cattle corridor of Ankole, affecting the districts of Isingiro, Ibanda, Kiruhura, Kazo, Sheema, Lyantonde and Mbarara. In the aftermath, the government announced a total ban on the movement of livestock to curtail its spread.
But Herbert Muhangi, the District Resident Commissioner and chairperson of the FMD task force says that illegal trade, smuggling and illegal grazing in Tanzania by either Ugandan or Tanzanian farmers and traders is fuelling an increase in the numbers of infected animals.
He says that often, herders use the porous borders to cross from Uganda to Tanzania and vice versa, further spreading the disease. So far, more than ten people have been arrested on the Ugandan side of the border trying to cross back to Tanzania with their animals.
Muhangi however says that the district has put in place more measures to contain the spread of foot and mouth disease. This includes the ban on the movement of cattle and increasing animal checkpoints across the district
Amos Mugeiga, a farmer in Rwembogo says that 90 percent of the FMD in Isingiro is brought in from Tanzania and mostly by traders and people who sneak to graze. He now wants the government to increase the security along the borders to stop this movement.
Amos Atukwase, the Nyakakoni Parish Councilor says that they have set up parish cattle patrol teams who keep monitoring the movement of cattle and whoever is arrested loses his animals. He says the biggest challenge was traders from Tanzania but this is being curbed.
Recently, authorities in Kiruhura faulted the illegal movement of cattle to traders who disguise themselves as farmers.