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Veterinary doctors warn on rushed MAAIF livestock census

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UVA: Focus should be on containing diseases at this point in time

Nakasongola, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The national association of veterinary doctors of Uganda (UVA) have advised the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry not to rush to conduct a livestock census without their input.

In a statement, they said a hurriedly held census will be a waste of money and produce distorted results that will not be beneficial to improving standards in the sector. The Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) also warned about dangers of the farther spread of Foot and Mouth Disease by enumerators walking around the whole country.

“We are currently still battling out with the notorious Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) that has devastated our national herd. The solutions to FMD are yet to be resolved and instituted,” UVA President Dr Daniel Kasibule wrote to the census implementing agency Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

“We have notably realized that attention bas been given to SOPs ( Standard Operation Procedures) of COVID-19 but none to this livestock enigma. Other existing livestock epidemics like African Swine Fever (ASF), New Castle Disease (NCD) and Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) should also be considered while drawing the SOPs,” Kasibule wrote.

The State Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Bright Rwamirama early this month announced that The National Livestock Census, 2021 will be conducted from next week,  May 17 to 28. It is planned to be conducted  in all four cattle corridor areas of Western, Eastern, Central and Northern Uganda.

The Minister said the National Livestock Census will ascertain a complete count of the country’s livestock and its associated characteristics. The last Livestock census was conducted in 2008 & revealed that about 4.5 million households (70.8%) rear at least one kind of livestock or poultry in Uganda.

Training of census supervisors starts

Training for National Livestock Census supervisors and enumerators is already underway, but UVA said the scope of training is insufficient for an exercise like this.

“Quality information that will be generated requires a minimum level of training that can understand production systems, different breeds, farm infrastructures, aspects of management of agricultural holdings disaggregated by sex etc. This will definitely require personal with higher animal related training, if not, will need training beyond the provided one week,” wrote Dr Kasibule.

A total of 32,486 Enumeration Areas (EAs) or villages will be covered in the whole country, 23,443 EAs in the 560 cattle corridor sub-counties while 9,043 EAs will be sampled & enumerated from the 961 non-cattle corridor sub-counties”

Kasibule also added that, ” It should be appreciated that the animal health workers understand the locations of the formers and their enterprises better; they are also in most cases already equipped with transport. They also easily appreciate the technical details of the census and their being end users of the generated information motivates them to gather accurate data.”

UVA warned that the census campaign has mainly been on social media, yet many veterinarians and ordinary farmers aren’t complaint to this mode of communication.

They advised that poultry, rabbits and piggery be included in the census and all cattle corridors be considered.

We appreciated the issue of financial constraint leading into some districts conducting total census (Cattle corridor) while others do enumeration area surveys. However many catttle districts have been omitted for example Kayunga, Buyende and Kamuli. The paradigm shift in farming due to population increase leading to increase in poultry, rabbits and piggery should be considered. Total counts of these especially in leading districts like Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso, Masaka and Mpigi need to be considered.

Kasibule concluded his letter by saying, “We pray that these concerns amongst others be considered as urgent for the smooth progress of this vital exercise.”

Another frustrated veterinary doctor, best illustrated the sector’s frustration by saying, “To us livestock specialists we want accurate and dependable statistics . This is the only chance for this marginalized sector.”

The Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) is a Civil Society Organization of over 1,223 members with a mission of promoting professionalism, welfare and interests of members to foster better livestock service delivery.

Original Source: INDEPENDENT.CO.UG

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Anti-tick vaccine drive gives hope to farmers

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Dairy farmers in Ankole Sub-region are optimistic that the anti-tick vaccine launched by the government will solve their problem of tick resistance to acaricides.
For the last 10 years, dairy farmers across the country have decried tick resistance to acaricides, which has been ravaging the livestock sector.

Mr Emmanuel Kyeishe, a resident of Rushere in Kiruhura District and dairy farmer with more than 100 head of cattle, says dairy farmers in the cattle corridor have battled the problem of tick resistance for a long time.
“The issue of ticks has been rampant in the cattle corridor to the extent of losing our cows. We spend a lot on treating them because of ticks since they infect animals with several diseases,”  he said.

Mr Kyeishe said he loses at least two cows every month to tick-borne diseases like East Coast Fever and heart water.
“I have lost 180 cows in the last five years due to ticks and tick-borne diseases. If they do not die, they get blind and some lose their skin. But if we get a vaccine, it will have saved us a lot,” he said.
Mr Kyeishe added that he has resorted to mixing agrochemicals with acaricides since the available ones on the market are failing.

Mr Jackson Bells Katongole, a dairy farmer in Kashari, Mbarara District, said if the government’s move to have anti-tick vaccine is successful, quality of dairy products would improve.
“A farmer loses at least two to five cows every month and we have resorted to using different concoctions from Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya because the problem of ticks has made us helpless,” he said.
He added: “We had reached the point of mixing pesticides with acaricides because of tick resistance and in the process our cows have gone blind, lost skin and others died.”

Mr Katongole further said each cow that dies is valued at around Shs2.5 million, which means that a farmer loses Shs5 million every month.
The Mbarara City Veterinary Officer, Dr Andrew Akashaba, said in Mbarara alone, there are about 60,000 head of cattle, mostly exotic breeds which are prone to ticks.
“Most of the exotic breeds of cattle are at a high risk of acquiring ticks and tick borne diseases, which are a major hindrance to livestock development in the cattle corridor,” he said.
Mr Akashaba added that between 2,000 and 3,000 cows die annually in Mbarara alone due to tick-related diseases.

While launching the final clinical trial of anti-tick vaccine manufactured by National Agriculture Research Organisation at Mbarara Zardi on Thursday, the deputy director general and research coordinator, Dr Yona Baguma, assured the farmers that once the vaccine is approved, they will be spraying their cattle against ticks twice in six months as opposed to twice a week.

Original source: Monitor

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Farmers fail to access farm inputs on Ministry e-platform

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About 3,640 model farmers in Nebbi District, who were registered under the Agricultural Cluster Development Programme (ACDP) to access agricultural inputs on E-voucher, are stuck after failure of the system.

The farmers say the system has affected their planting patterns.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry under the Agriculture cluster Development Programme (ACDP) introduced the e-voucher system five years ago to enable farmers access agricultural inputs electronically.

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Farmers on alert as new banana virus hits Western Uganda

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Farmers should stop getting banana plantlets from districts in Western and North-West Uganda to stop the spread of the Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) disease, Hebert Musiimenta, the Principal Agricultural Inspector in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries-MAAIF has advised.

The Banana Bunchy Top Virus was first observed in the western Uganda districts in late 2020. In July this year, the ministry raised a red flag when the disease caused havoc on banana plantations in West Nile, Rwenzori and Tooro regions.

An infected plant presents with severe stunting, narrow leaves, chlorotic leaf margins, and dark green streaks on petioles and midribs. The affected plant also shows a rosette-like or bunchy and choked appearance. Diseased plants rarely produce fruit and when they do, the fruit is stunted and twisted.

The disease is spread by aphids and the planting of affected tubers.

The disease has the capacity to wipe out banana gardens within 3 to 5 years unless farmers practice the control measures such as the proper destruction of affected stems, control of aphids, and planting clean materials.

Hebert Musiimenta, Principal Agricultural Inspector in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), says to contain the spread of the disease, farmers should stop getting banana planting materials from Nebbi, Zombo, Arua, Maracha, and Koboko districts in North-West Uganda and Bunyangabu, Kasese, Kabarore, and Bundibugyo districts in Western Uganda.

He also advises the farmers to be cautious about planting materials from Kisoro, Kabale, Ntungamo, and Isingiro districts since they are near the border.  The disease is suspected to have spread to Uganda from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. Musiimenta advised farmers in an interview with URN that if they are to pick planting materials, they should first consult agriculture officers in their areas to recommend safe planting materials.

Musimenta revealed that a team of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries, and Fisheries is investigating the prevalence of the virus in Kigezi region specifically districts neighboring Rwanda and DR Congo.

He says the disease has the capacity to wipe out banana gardens within 3 to 5 years unless farmers practice the control measures such as the proper destruction of affected stems, control of aphids, and planting clean materials.

Original Source: URN via The independent

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