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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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Strengthening Small-Scale Farming in Uganda through Farmer Field Schools.

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By Witness Radio and ESSAF teams.

In Uganda, the shortage of desired and high-quality plant genetic resources remains a barrier to small-scale agriculture and threatens food and nutritional security, yet small-scale farmers are known for being the highest producers of the world’s food.

Indigenous seeds are vital for ensuring food and nutrition security and play a crucial role in sustainable agriculture. Small-scale farmers rely on farm-saved seeds obtained through farmer-managed seed systems (FMSS).

On the 6th of June 2024, the Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESSAF-Uganda) organized a webinar to explore the impacts of participatory plant breeding using the farmer field schools on upholding the farmer-managed seed system in communities.

In this webinar, participants shared the impacts of Farmer Field Schools (FFS) on small-scale farmers’ access to and use of quality seeds and discussed existing opportunities for FFS to upscale their seed work, thereby enhancing farmers’ income and livelihoods.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, a Farmer Field School (FFS) is an approach based on people-centered learning offering space for hands-on group learning, enhancing skills for critical analysis, and improved decision-making by local people. FFS activities are field-based, and include experimentation to solve problems, reflecting a specific localized context.

According to Ms. Margaret Masudio Eberu, the National Vice Chairperson, ESAFF-Uganda Chapter, revealed that seeds have transformed into commercial proprietary resources due to technological advancements, market influences, and evolving legal systems forcing small-scale farmers to shift from active producers to passive consumers of industrial goods, including seeds, with modern agricultural practices.

Please find the rebroadcast here:

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FARM NEWS

National Coffee Forum Petitions Parliament Over UCDA Merger

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Coffee stakeholders through National Coffee Forum say UCDA merger will disrupt the coffee sub-sector. Coffee is one of the leading sources of foreign exchange for Uganda

Coffee stakeholders through the National Coffee Forum – Uganda (NCF – UG) has petitioned Parliament through the Speaker over the proposed mainstreaming of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) into Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)

The government plans to merge a number of Agencies to the line Ministries in a move aimed at saving about Shs1 trillion annually. If the move succeeds, UCDA will be taken to MAAIF.

However, coffee stakeholders through NCF – UG say that they find the proposal to take UCDA to MAAIF untenable and detrimental to the coffee sub-sector.

NCF-UG is a private foundation whose membership includes farmers, processors, exporters, roasters, brewers and researchers, among others.

The Forum Chairperson Francis Wakabi says that mainstreaming the entity will negatively affect the achievements Uganda has attained in coffee production and export.

“This decision will negatively affect our access to the international market and will stunt Uganda’s economic growth opportunities by distorting the functions of UCDA that have stabilized the industry over the years,” said Wakabi in a petition dated February 21, 2024. The petition was copied in to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries as well as all MPs.

He adds that Uganda should not risk its achievements by tampering with UDCA that is the main contributor to our coffee success story.

“Mainstreaming it would therefore disrupt the many livelihoods that depend on the industry and adversely affect the badly needed foreign exchange for the country,” the petition reads in part.

As a result of UCDA coffee regulation, Wakabi says that Uganda’s competitiveness was elevated on the global market, ensuring high quality Uganda coffee and enabling Uganda’s coffee to displace that of Brazil and India in Italy and UK coffee markets.

“… World over, coffee is supervised and regulated by a specialized body like UCDA for purposes of institutional memory and specialized focus. Experience from Ethiopia and Kenya who disbanded their specialized coffee authorities and mainstreamed them back into the relevant ministries had to reverse their decisions after registering negative outcomes,” said Wakabi.

The Forum further says that the European Union (EU) buys over 60% of Uganda coffee, making it the biggest market for Uganda.

“The EU has introduced a new regulation called the EU deforestation regulations (EUDR) which bans export of coffee from deforested land, taking effect from 2025. This calls for farmer traceability and the EU commission in Uganda is already working with UCDA to implement the said regulations. They require a country to constantly monitor deforested areas and map all the farmers for purposes of implementation of the farmer traceability program to maintain a high standard of quality. It was reported that Uganda has achieved most of the requirements under the EUDR and required a few steps to be declared compliant. Monitoring and implementing the scheme for the millions of farmers is a tedious activity which requires a specialized unit that can be best implemented using the already established structures of UCDA. Disrupting the current UCDA structure will not only halt the progress made in achieving compliance, but also risk reversing the gains made,” added Wakabi.

He avers that UCDA has been able to greatly contribute to Uganda’s improved Coffee quality through implementation of programs such as certification of Coffee nurseries to ensure quality of planting materials, Provision of Coffee specific extension services and agronomy to improve production and productivity, Provision of technical expertise in Coffee rehabilitation, post-harvest handling practices and pest and disease management and provision of coffee processing equipment like wet mills to farmers and cooperatives to improve quality and promote value addition. The coffee stakeholders are worried that once UCDA is taken to MAAIF which is loaded with many crops and projects, coffee, a key source of foreign exchange for Uganda may not get the necessary priority. Coffee stakeholders argue that if indeed Parliament is a people-centred institution, it should listen to the views of farmers and other stakeholders and retain UCDA as a semi-autonomous agency.

“Given the above position with the attendant reasons, the NCF advises that the proposed mainstreaming of UCDA into MAAIF should not be implemented and that the proposed Bill No. 30 (part VII) be dropped in order not to disrupt the industry and the progress made under the stewardship of UCDA. All coffee stakeholders are unanimously in agreement with this position,” reads the petition in part.

Source: businessfocus.co.ug

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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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