By Kamuhanda John
Kiruhura district has been invaded by tsetse flies with the residents calling for government support to eradicate the pests that have seen several cattle in the area die.
Reports show that for the past five years, cattle farmers in Kiruhura have borne the burden of fighting tsetse flies, whose cost he said was exorbitant and discouraging to commercial cattle farmers.
Nyabushozi County Member of Parliament, Wilson Kajwengye told Parliament that an estimated 100,000 herds of cattle have been affected by the diseases caused by the flies.
“Unfortunately, we have lost the battle because the disease is chronic and cows lose weight. The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has intervened but minimally,” said Kajwengye.
Kajwengye said Kiruhura has registered notable financial loss resulting from the decline in milk and beef production.
“It is estimated that the district has lost Shs 26 billion and Shs 15 billion from sales of milk and beef respectively,” he said.
He prayed that the Ministry of Agriculture should urgently procure and distribute tsetse fly traps saying they are easy to use and are environmentally friendly.
He also appealed to the ministry to work with the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Antiquities to carry out studies on tsetse fly control measures that would include development of an appropriate acaricide that kills tsetse flies.
Speaker of Parliament Anita Among said she received similar reports from residents during her recent visit to Kiruhura and asked the Agriculture Ministry to urgently assess the disease burden in the district.
“I think what you need to do is to send a team there to assess the level of the damage that has been caused,” she said.