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Milk prices drop from Shs 800 to Shs 100 per litre in Mbarara



Dairy Farmers in Mbarara and Kiruhura districts are stuck with over 150,000 litres of milk following the closure of the biggest milk processing plants in the area. Pearl Dairies stopped buying milk six days ago while Amos Dairies stopped a week ago.

The closure of the two biggest milk processors has taken a huge toll on dairy farmers. James Rwamunahe, a manager at a milk collecting center in Biharwe trading center, says they collect over 15,000 litres each but only sell 5,000 litres leaving a balance of 10,000 litres.

He says the whole of Kashari A collects over 30,000 litres but only 15,000 litres are taken by Abesigana Farmers Dairy Cooperative Society leaving a balance of 15,000 litres. Wilson Bagatuzire, a farmer in Kashari says he is worried about where to take his milk because Pearl Dairies, which used to buy the bulk of the milk, closed yet cooperatives cannot consume what they produce.

David Rwancumi, a Dairy farmer in Kiruhura district, says due to lack of market a litre of milk has dropped between Shs 700 and 800 to Shs 300. He also notes that the few cooperatives buying milk don’t give them a chance to negotiate for better prices. Alex Mubagizi, the Igongo farm manager says a litre of milk now costs between Shs 100 and Shs 300 s down from between Shs 700 and Shs 800.

Much as milk farm gate prices are low, a litre of milk in Mbarara business center costs between Shs 1000 and Shs 1200. Asaph Nagaba who owns a cooler at Fresh Milk Suppliers on Bulemba Road in Mbarara town says the closure of the milk plant doesn’t mean that they should reduce prices because they also have expenses to cover.

“We cannot reduce our prices just because the Indian has closed, we have other expenses like transport, taxes, polythene bags for packing and other things so we keep our prices high but not exorbitant,” he said.

Nathan Bahuku, a farmer in Biharwe has appealed to government to come up with a strategy of finding market for their milk to save them from losses.

Our reporter was denied access to Pearl Dairies. However, a source said that the factory has laid off three-quarters of its workers since it closed on grounds that they no longer export milk to Kenya. Pearl Dairies are the producers of Lato Milk products.

The company has been consuming over 300,000 litres per of milk each day collected from Kiruhura, Lyatonde and Mbarara districts.  Late last year, the then state minister for Animal Husbandry, Joy Kabatsi asked farmers to start cooperative societies to help them negotiate milk prices and find market for their products.

Source: The Observer

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Farmers in Napak want security forces deployed in gardens



A section of farmers in Napak District is demanding for the deployment of security personnel in gardens to prevent attacks by suspected Karamojong warriors.

This follows a message that was sent to one of the phones belonging to the community member in Nabwal sub county threatening people to stop cultivation or else their cattle will be stolen. Suspected warriors have also been dropping leaflets in the villages warning farmers of possible attacks in case they risk going to cultivate in their gardens.

Robert Koryang, a resident of Lotome trading center, says that they are worried of going to their farm gardens which are far away from their home because of threats from the cattle raiders.

Koryang said the warriors are still hunting for cattle and they see the farming season as an opportunity to target farmers who use oxen for ploughing.

He observed that the persistent insecurity in the region frustrated their efforts to cultivate last year leading to a hunger crisis.

Judith Anyakun, another farmer recalls that early last year a suspected raider chased them out of their farms before making off with four oxen that were used for ploughing.

She suggested that the security forces should be deployed in their settlements nearer to the fields so that they are able to respond to any attack that may occur during farm activities.

John Paul Kodet, the LCV Chairperson for Napak, says that they are taking the threats seriously because the warriors have been issuing warnings to the communities before attacking.

Kodet said they have distributed seeds to the farmers but he is skeptical if communities shall be able to cultivate due to threats from suspected warriors.

He noted that some villages in the sub-counties of Lopei, Lokopo, and Lotome are very distant from the military installations and this puts them at high risk of being attacked.

Kodet appealed to the government to tighten security in the targeted areas such that people will be able to cultivate without fear.

Denis Okori, the Napak Resident District Commissioner said that the security forces already have the intelligence about the planned attacks and measures have been put in place to protect the communities.

Okori said they have designed strategic plans on how the deployment will be conducted and therefore farmers should not get worried because the government is trying everything possible to ensure there is peace.

He also confirmed receipt of the phone used for sending threats and it has been taken to the Internal Security Organization for tracking.

Okori urged the communities not to worry but instead clear the gardens for farming in order to fight hunger in the families as security does its part to protect them.

Last year, the residents of Napak district suspended the use of oxen for ploughing over fears of being attacked by suspected warriors. The cattle were only kept from the confined kraals and only released during the day for grazing, and returned in the evening when the army took responsibility for keeping them.

Original Source: URN via The Independent

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Mbarara struggling to contain Rift Valley Fever, no livestock quarantine yet



The government is reluctant at imposing the livestock quarantine on Mbarara despite registering five confirmed cases of death among humans resulting from Rift Valley Fever, the Resident District Commissioner, Emmy Turyabagyenyi Kateera has revealed.

According to Kateera , when they informed the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries about the outbreak, they deployed a team on the ground to manage the situation. Mbarara District Veterinary Officer, Andrew Bakashaba, says that registered fifty cows infected by Rift Valley Fever in Rwanyamahembe Sub County on different farms.

He, however, says that they are currently managing the situation through sensitization. Bakashaba has warned residents against eating meat from animals that have died on their own, noting that Rift Valley Fever is only transmitted from animals to humans through infected meat.

He has also asked people to always watch out for meat that has a veterinary medical stamp as proof that it’s been tested and found to be clean. Turyabagyenyi said that they have directed extension workers to hold engagement and sensitization meetings with farmers and livestock traders on how to do self-preservation on their farms and the movement of animals.

PHOTO: The Jenner Institute

He said they asked the Ministry of Agriculture to hold on imposing a quarantine as they monitor the situation on the ground noting that if the situation goes out of hand they would be left without any choice but to announce the quarantine.

He says they have deployed veterinary doctors at all known slaughter slabs and asked them to double-check the meat before and after it is delivered to butchers.  Dr. Richard Atuhairwe, the in-charge of Bwizibwera Health Centre IV, says that the disease was detected among 30 people, and results from Uganda Virus Research Institute returned positive.  He says that five of the thirty have since died.

Rift Valley Fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever that is most commonly seen in domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats and can also cause illness in people. It is caused by the Rift Valley Virus. Meanwhile, a Quarantine has been imposed on Byembogo Village in Nyabisirira Town Council after a case of foot and mouth disease was confirmed on one farm.

Turyabagyenyi says a farm belonging to one Mr. Mungonya with over 1500 cattle had been stopped from sending out cattle and animal products like milk from the farm. He says that they have also temporarily closed the Kyeshema livestock market that is shared between Kiruhura and Mbarara districts noting that Kiruhura had last week closed its side.

He says they are now moving to vaccinate all animals in the village as they monitor the situation.

Original Source: URN via  The independent

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Kamwenge closes livestock markets to halt spread of Foot and Mouth Disease from Kazo



Kamwenge District Veterinary Department has ordered the temporary closure of all livestock markets in the district to curb the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease-FMD to the area.

The District Veterinary Officer, Dr. Paul Mbago told URN that the decision follows the outbreak of FMD in the neighboring Kazo district.

He explains that his office held a meeting with stakeholders and livestock farmers in the district and they came up with guidelines to stop the spread of the disease to the district.

According to Mbago, they have written to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries requesting 10,000 doses of the FMD vaccinate to vaccinate livestock in Bihanga and Nkoma sub-counties, which border Kazo district.

Last week, Kazo district confirmed the outbreak of the highly contagious livestock disease at a farm in Bwatama village in Buremba Town Council.

Original Source:URN via The Independent

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