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Uncertainty among Karamoja farmers as dry spell persists.

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Karimojong famers prepare their fields for the planting season onset to the rainy period

Kampala, Uganda. There is increasing uncertainty on food security in Karamoja sub-region as crops are beginning to dry up in the gardens due to the prolonged dry spell that has persisted from May to date. The region normally receives one planting season from April to August each year.

Farmers often utilize the season to produce enough food for the whole year. However, with the dry spell continuing to hit the area since the onset of rains in late April, the dry period has stretched unexpectedly until mid-June creating fears of food insecurity among crop farmers in the region.

The dry spell follows heavy rains that also caused crop failure in mid-May due to very wet conditions and waterlogging. Low-lying areas experienced flash floods that washed away seeds. According to some farmers, most of them are waiting for rainfall to resume after ceasing in mid-May. Farmers are hoping to return to their farms despite having gone halfway into the season.

They are yearning to grow crops like sorghum, maize and beans among others. The prolonged drought that is being experienced in most parts of the country is now causing crops to wither in the gardens due to too much sunshine in Karamoja. Veronica Aleo, a farmer from Napak sub county has expressed fears that the situation threatens to leave the region more food insecure compared to the other seasons.

“The dry spell is so long. The problem is drought. We received rainfall for only one week and we planted. Now there is no rainfall. We leave it to God. I hope it will rain. God will not abandon us,” said Lokol who took our reporter to her sorghum garden.

Paul Munyes, another farmer from Lopei sub county, Napak district says that the weather is more unfriendly this year and they are worried that it may be a year of food insecurity and famine. He says most gardens are now drying up. Even with the too lengthy dry spell, Munyes still hopes that the season will improve anytime this month. He is hoping to grow maize, beans and groundnuts if the rains return.

“You wake up thinking … Is the government going or NGOs going to help people? Seeds cannot germinate now as the soils are very dry (you see.) We planted but there was no germination. The gardens are bear. There is nothing,” says Munyes.

John Bosco Akore, a farmer from Panyangara sub county in Moroto district is also concerned about the state of crops following a dry spell. “Crops are almost drying and many families have not grown as yet. Crops would be flowering by now. We are hoping that rains come back soon so that we cultivate. Those weeding are even risking the growth of crops. It’s just too hot now,” he said on phone.

Robert Lokoru, a farmer in Nadunget sub county in Moroto district summed up this year as a dead year for farmers. “We don’t expect much since there is no sign of rainfall in the nearby future,” he said while showing our reporter his brown garden that has no crops because of the dry spell.

Elders from the region are predicting that there may be a long rainy period this year that could go to September. Mzee William Lodou of Rupa sub county in Moroto district says that from experience, if the rains delay starting, they may go some month late than usual.

“It has not been dry for long like this in recent years, but there is the likelihood the rains may go until September this year. If the rains resume, farmers should plant,” he said. On the other hand, a weather forecast by Uganda National Meteorological Authority-UNMA predicted above-normal rainfall in most regions of the country.

For Karamoja region for example, UNMA said March, April and May would experience above normal rainfall. They had warned local governments to prepare for emergencies including disease outbreaks and damaged infrastructure.

Original Source URN via independent

FARM NEWS

Govt to import 10 million vaccines to control cattle disease

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Entebbe, Uganda.  Government is set to import 10 million doses of vaccines to enable scaling up of ring vaccination as the fight to eradicate Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Ugandan cattle enters a new phase.

Cabinet chaired by President Yoweri Museveni on Monday also proposed that once ring vaccination is complete, farmers start paying for the FMD vaccines in a compulsory vaccination scheme, and thereafter, trade in animal products, will be restricted to those adhering to the plan.

Minister of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fishers Frank Tumwebazwe on Monday shared the resolutions after Cabinet laid out strategies to contain the disease that has hit 36 districts.

Cabinet agreed to create a revolving fund to enable procurement of sufficient FMD vaccines to facilitate compulsory bi-annual vaccination of the susceptible domestic animal population. It also approved a plan for farmers to pay for the vaccines while government covers other costs.

“Vaccination is to be made compulsory. Proof of vaccination will be a precondition for any farmer to sell any animal products,” said Minister Tumwebazwe.

“I appeal to fellow livestock farmers and stakeholders to understand and appreciate these effort as we steadily move to eradicate FMD in Uganda just like other animal diesases like rinderpest wre eradicated.”

Ntoroko veterinary disease surveillance team conducting FMD surveillance and sample collection

The 36 districts currently affected and under quarantine are Budaka, Bukedea, Bukomansimbi, Bunyangabu, Butaleja, Fortportal City, Gomba, Ibanda, Isingiro, Kabarole, Kasanda, Kayunga, Kazo, Kiboga, Kibuku, Kiruhura, Kumi, Kyankwanzi, Kyegegwa, Kyotera, Luuka, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Mbarara City, Mityana, Mpigi, Mubende, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Namisindwa, Ngora, Ntungamo, Rakai, Rwampara and Sembabule.

All districts neighboring the affected districts are at high risk, under strict surveillance, and the authorities have been advised to remain vigilant.

These include Apac, Amolatar, Bugiri, Bushenyi, Butaleja, Hoima, Iganga, Jinja, Kabale, Kaberamaido, Kaliro, Kamuli, Kamwenge, Katakwi, Kasese, Kibaale, Kiboga, Kyenjojo, Mbale, Masindi, Mayuge, Mukono, Namalemba, Nakapiripirit,
Palisa, Rukungiri, Sironko, Wakiso and Soroti.

Tumwebaze assured farmers that in the next one or two months, his Ministry expects to receive and dispatch 2.3 million doses of the FMD vaccine to the affected and susceptible districts for ring vaccination scale-up.

He told parliament earlier that as a way of increasing availability of Foot and Mouth Disease vaccines in the country,
Uganda’s National Agiculture Research Organisation (NARO) has started the process of formulating and developing an FMD vaccine for Uganda.

Source: The independent

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FARM NEWS

Farmers losing Shs4 trillion due to livestock diseases

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ScienceDirect has revealed that farmers in Uganda lose more than $1.1b (Shs4.1 trillion) in aggregated annual direct and indirect loss due to the rising spread of tick-borne animal challenges, with the commonest and economically damaging tick-borne disease being the East Coast Fever.

The livestock industry in Uganda and its productivity continue to be threatened by a number of diseases many of which are tick-borne related.

This, Dr Anna Rose Ademun, the Ministry of Agriculture commissioner animal health, said results from arcaricides that have become resistant, thus the need to ensure collaboration and get solutions to the problem.

“There are ongoing efforts by the Agriculture Ministry, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation to support diagnosis of tick resistance to acaricides at regional laboratory centres but this is not enough,” she said during the livestock industry key stakeholders meeting in Kampala, which had been convened to discuss and prioritise areas for tick control.

The stakeholders included veterinarians, extension staff, farmers, processors and government representatives.

Ministry of Agriculture is already working on the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative, which seeks to, among others, provide sustainable solutions to enable small-scale farmers maximise the potential of their cattle by developing and practicing methods that can successfully manage tick infections in cattle.

During the meeting, the TickAcademy App, which will support farmers in managing tick infestations was also pre-launched.

By the end of January, farmers and extension workers will be able to access the app’s educational content, which includes simple-to-watch films, to help them become knowledgeable about tick control.

Mr Enrique Hernández Pando, the GALVmed head of commercial development and impact, said the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative will be important in tackling acaricide resistance challenges as well as help farmers and animal health officers to access creative methods of addressing the problem of acaricide resistance.

During the meeting, stakeholders jointly agree to train and sensitise field staff and farmers about tick management strategies that work, as well as strengthen the diagnostic infrastructure and testing capabilities for tick resistance and other animal health-related concerns.

Others will involve making it easier for farmers to obtain credit from savings institutions run by farmer groups at a reasonable cost so they may purchase specialized equipment for applying pesticides.

Mr Nishal Gunpath, the Elanco Animal Health country director south and sub-Saharan Africa, said they will support the Initiative to drive livestock in a better direction, noting that it will also help small-scale livestock farmers to maximise their potential.

Original Source: Daily Monitor

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FARM NEWS

Ibanda imposes livestock quarantine to curb anthrax

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Ibanda, Uganda.  Authorities in Ibanda district have enforced a quarantine on the movement of cattle and, the sale of animal products following an outbreak of anthrax.

According to the Ibanda District Chief Administrative Officer Ruhemba Kweronda, the district has registered sporadic cases of anthrax disease in Humans who are suspected to have handled meat from infected dead animals.

Kweronda says the disease that was first noticed in November last year was reported in Rugaaga 1 and IV villages of Keihangara Sub County, where nine people who confessed to having slaughtered a dead animal tested positive for Anthrax.

He adds that early this month one person from Mbonwa Parish Rukiri Sub County tested positive and currently 12 people from Kakoma are showing signs. He also said that two animals died abruptly in Kigarama ward Ibanda Municipality and samples have been collected and taken to the laboratory.

According to Kweronda, all slaughter activities and movement of livestock will be temporarily enforced for one month in Ibanda Municipality and Ibanda South Constituency.

He says other measures put in place to curb the spread of the disease include registering all meat handlers in the district, enforcing the requirement by all cattle traders to have cattle trading licenses issued by the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, carrying out ring vaccination of all suspected animal species in areas of Keihangara sub county Bisheshe Division, Rukiri Sub County and Kagongo division, but also continue sensitization and surveillance activities.

Dr Hillary Arinaitwe, the District Veterinary Officer says that they have written to the Ministry of Agriculture demanding vaccines.

In December, authorities in Kyotera district enforced a complete ban on the movement of livestock and its products to halt the spread of Anthrax.

For nearly a month, the district has grappled with a rare outbreak of Anthrax. This outbreak has claimed at least six lives and led to several hospitalizations.

Anthrax is a zoonotic caused by Bacillus anthracis, a spore-like bacteria that produces strong toxins that are dangerous to animals and humans. Ruminants such as cows, goats, and sheep can quickly die with their carcasses showing little signs of infection but in human beings, symptoms begin with a flu-like illness, raised boil-like lesions on the skin.

Meanwhile, officials in Kiruhura District have extended the closure of four animal markets to control the spread of foot and mouth disease in the district.

The four markets are Nyakasahara, Kyiebuza, Kyeshama livestock markets, and Kitura goat Market.

In the Circular from the Kiruhura District Chief Administrative Officer Charles Kiberu Nsubuga, to all lower local council chairpersons dated 12th January 2024, they should ensure continued enforcement of the directive.

Original Source URN via : The Independent

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