Efforts. One of the blind cows at a farm in Isingiro District. PHOTO BY FELIX AINEBYOONA
Government is investigating reports that dairy farmers in Isingiro District are using unlicensed acaricides and concoctions that are causing blindness and other complications to livestock.
The district veterinary officer, Dr Bruhan Kasozi, told Daily Monitor yesterday that they are working with the National Drug Authority (NDA) to ascertain whether the blindness of more than 300 cows is being caused by the said acaricides and chemicals. “We are still investigating together with NDA to find out if it is true that these animals are getting blind because of acaricides that are not licensed,” Dr Kasozi said.
The call for investigations was prompted by the Isingiro District chairperson, Mr Jeremiah Kamurari, who appealed to the ministry of Agriculture to come to the aid of dairy farmers in the area.
He was speaking at a meeting of dairy farmers and veterinary drug shop operators in Kabingo Town Council last Thursday.
Mr Kamurari said a report from the district veterinary department shows there are more than 300 cases of cow blindness and 14 deaths.
“Fake acaricides are being supplied through normal channels where farmers have been getting drugs; our cows are experiencing unbelievable challenge of blindness,” he said.
He added that the acaricides are concoctions of different pesticides and other things such as tobacco which have adverse effects on the animals.
“We are wondering what the NDA (National Drug Authority) is doing. They are sensitising the public which is good but let them do enforcement. Let us have arrests of these fraudsters, name and shame and follow up cases to the letter. This will cure the problem,” Mr Kamurari said.
The principal regulatory officer at NDA, Mr Vincent Kayizi Magembe, said most of the fumigants are dangerous chemicals which are meant for hard surfaces not the skin and they can cause cancer to humans if exposed to skin.
“Farmers are continuously using fumigants which are extremely dangerous because they are meant for hard surfaces and fumigation of insects such as cockroaches, rice and bed bags. So they can even cause cancer to humans and it is even indicated on the bottles,” Dr Kayizi said.
Farmers’ last resort
The chairperson of Kakamba Dairy Cooperative Society, Mr Benon Rugaju Mutakirwa, said some farmers resorted to using different forms of acaricides and fumigants due to tick resistance.
“Since we started using fumigants such as lava, 2 In 1 Ocelamectin and others, our cows started getting blind. A top layer of the cow’s eyes is covered by something like a cloud,” Mr Mutakirwa said.
The head of veterinary at NDA, Dr Jeanne Muhindo, faulted the “big people’’ for not supervising workers at their farms, leading to the use of the acaricides.
“Most of the affected farms are of big people who are usually absentees on their farms. We interacted with their managers and they revealed that they have sometimes been forced to use these chemicals because they are expected to have zero ticks on the farms. So they stealthily do it, their bosses don’t know about it,” she said.
Last month, NDA and police arrested seven people on allegations of falsifying and selling unregistered Tick Burn Spray to dairy farmers in western region. They were allegedly buying DD Force, Boom Super, and 2 –in-1 Ocelamectin, which are fumigants/pesticides, and labelling them ‘tick burn spray’ and selling to livestock farmers.
Source: Daily Monitor
Statement: The Energy Sector Strategy 2024–2028 Must Mark the End of the EBRD’s Support to Fossil Fuels
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is due to publish a new Energy Sector Strategy before the end of 2023. A total of 130 civil society organizations from over 40 countries have released a statement calling on the EBRD to end finance for all fossil fuels, including gas.
From 2018 to 2021, the EBRD invested EUR 2.9 billion in the fossil energy sector, with the majority of this support going to gas. This makes it the third biggest funder of fossil fuels among all multilateral development banks, behind the World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank.
The EBRD has already excluded coal and upstream oil and gas fields from its financing. The draft Energy Sector Strategy further excludes oil transportation and oil-fired electricity generation. However, the draft strategy would continue to allow some investment in new fossil gas pipelines and other transportation infrastructure, as well as gas power generation and heating.
In the statement, the civil society organizations point out that any new support to gas risks locking in outdated energy infrastructure in places that need investments in clean energy the most. At the same time, they highlight, ending support to fossil gas is necessary, not only for climate security, but also for ensuring energy security, since continued investment in gas exposes countries of operation to high and volatile energy prices that can have a severe impact on their ability to reach development targets. Moreover, they underscore that supporting new gas transportation infrastructure is not a solution to the current energy crisis, given that new infrastructure would not come online for several years, well after the crisis has passed.
The signatories of the statement call on the EBRD to amend the Energy Sector Strategy to
- fully exclude new investments in midstream and downstream gas projects;
- avoid loopholes involving the use of unproven or uneconomic technologies, as well as aspirational but meaningless mitigation measures such as “CCS-readiness”; and
- strengthen the requirements for financial intermediaries where the intended nature of the sub-transactions is not known to exclude fossil fuel finance across the entire value chain.
Download the statement: https://www.iisd.org/system/files/2023-09/ngo-statement-on-energy-sector-strategy-2024-2028.pdf
Kigezi In Famine Scare After Drought Hits The Region
Farmers in Rubanda district are living in fear that they may be hit by famine due to the prolonged drought that has greatly affected the area. This comes after the area was hit by heavy rains in the month of May 2023, which left most of the gardens washed away, and since then the dry season has started up to date.
This is the first of its kind for Rubanda district and Kigezi at large to undergo such a prolonged drought.
According to farmers, this is the first of its kind for Rubanda to go through a long drought, adding that they are in fear that they may be hit by famine since they were used to receiving rains at the beginning of August, which is not the case this year. They add that even the seedlings that they had planted excepting that the rains would come have all dried up by the long spell.
Farmers also say that they don’t know what could be the cause that has stopped the rains,adding that the government should come up with a program that provides them with seedlings.
Akampurira Prossy Mbabazi, a woman Member of Parliament for Rubanda District, says that the issue of drought is not only in Rubanda District; however, this is the first of its kind. She adds that the drought comes after the area was hit by heavy rains, which caused a lot of challenges, adding that now it is the drought that may affect the farmers.
Akampurira further says that, as a leader,she will continue to educate farmers on better methods of farming depending on climate change.
Kikafunda Evelyne, founder of Green Environment Promotion (GEP), says it’s sad that farmers in Rubanda district and Kigezi at large are experiencing a long drought. She attributes it to problems of environmental degradation that include swamps being reclaimed, deforestation, and plastic pollution, adding that this is an indication that people don’t mind about the environment.
Kikafunda calls upon all people to take part in protecting the environment, adding that environmentalists should devise means on how to protect the environment.
It’s now been four months since it last rained in the districts of greater Kabale, that is, Rubanda, Kabale, and Rukiga districts, as well as other parts of the Kigezi Subregion.
Ban GMOs in Africa, farmers urge govts
A cross section of residents from the oil-rich Albertine Region have petitioned African heads of state to ban genetically modified organism (GMOs) and crops across the continent to save Africa’s indigenous crops and animal species from extinction.
The August 26, petition addressed to President William Ruto of Kenya, the Chairperson of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, asks African heads of states who are meeting this week for Africa Climate Dialogue to pass strong resolutions to ban GMOs.
Africa Climate Dialogue kicks off today in Nairobi, Kenya under the theme “Driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the World.”
Co-hosted by the Kenya and the African Union Commission, it brings together heads of state and Government, policymakers, civil society organisations, the private sector, multilateral institutions and the youth to design and catalyse actions and solutions for climate change in Africa.
The petitioners under the Uganda Oil Refinery Residents, have made a raft of recommendations including passing a strong resolution to immediately ban the use and promotion of GMO products in African countries, a resolution for promotion of indigenous species of plant seeds and animals in all African states and another resolution to increase budget allocation for agriculture with focus on research in preservation and conservation of indigenous species of plants and animals in Africa.
“This will contribute to knowledge sharing and awareness creation on the relevance of indigenous species as a response to climate change,” the petition recommends, adding: “Lastly, pass resolution to integrate indigenous agriculture practices in education curriculum in some relevant subjects like agriculture and biology in all African countries. This will enable preservation and increased knowledge among the young people on the need to preserve and promote indigenous species.”
The petitioners, drawn from Kabaale and Busheruka sub-counties in Hoima District Uganda where there are planned oil refineries and other infrastructure, say GMOs present a number of risks and their introduction onto the continent could have a huge negative impact on food security, indigenous crops and organisms, health risks and associated problems.
The petitioners say while different African states have made a number of policies, laws and commitments regarding climate change, including integrating the aspect of climate justice into their different state legislations, as a grass root community whose livelihood entirely depends on agriculture, they still believe that leaders have not done enough to respond to these calamities.
“The major concern is about the use and promotion of genetically modified organisms [for both plants and animals] in Africa.
Uganda, whose backbone is agriculture, once known for its indigenous plants and animals now faces many difficulties in dealing with these invasive species. Maintenance and management strategies of these species require a lot of capital in terms of purchasing inputs such as fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides, among others,” the petition reads in part.
The petitioners say with the worsening climate change, the introduction of one season fast maturing plants has made it difficult for farmers to plan. They argue that GMOs, which they claim are invasive species onto the continent, cannot withstand climate change and weather vagaries and therefore increase food insecurity on the continent.
“As earlier stated, these species require many inputs in terms of chemicals like fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, processed feeds, and vaccines, among others that are all expensive for the ordinary African farmers,” they add in the petition.
The petitioners also contend that in Africa, more than 85 percent of grass root communities heavily rely on rain-fed agriculture and that the ‘invasive species’ are not resistant and not compatible with the local environmental conditions.
“As such, they require effective irrigation as an alternative, which is extremely expensive for grass root communities. Whereas these GMOs were initially introduced as a solution to enhance agricultural productivity and food security, there has been a concerning trend of a financial strain on communities due to the high costs associated with these invasive species,” the petition states.
“Buying seasonal seeds for planting and agricultural inputs to manage these species among others is not sustainable and oftentimes leads to significant drain of limited financial resources within the communities. The local farmers are often compelled to divert funds from other essential needs such as education, healthcare and basic infrastructure development,” the petition adds.
They also say there is an increased outbreak of pests and disease, which is attributed to the increase in temperatures caused by the changing climate. Unfortunately, they say, GMOs are prone to attack by these pests and diseases.
They also say the GMOs present huge health risks to the local communities, who are illiterate and do not understand the precautions to follow while using these pesticides and herbicides.
This, according to the petition, exposes the users to high risks of contracting diseases through ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact that can lead to acute and chronic health related issues.
“These include respiratory diseases, skin irritations, neurological disorders, and even certain types of cancers in the end. Most grass root women are also worried about the consumption of these genetically modified organisms since they are mainly treated with chemicals; others are injected with hormones to increase their shelf-life spans,” the petition states.
Source: Daily Monitor
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK2 weeks ago
Pushing back: The EACOP victim community rushes to court seeking reinstatement onto their land and compensation.
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK2 days ago
EACOP PAPs have started a private criminal proceeding against Army General, Hoima Police Commander and others over their criminal acts during illegal land evictions.
DEFENDING LAND AND ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS7 days ago
Statement: The Energy Sector Strategy 2024–2028 Must Mark the End of the EBRD’s Support to Fossil Fuels