The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has provided vaccines and equipment worth more than $1 million to help control animal diseases in the Karamoja region of Uganda. The donation includes 300,000 doses of Foot and Mouth Disease vaccines for cattle and other large animals, 140,000 doses for smaller animals, and an additional 200,000 doses for lung disease in small animals.
It also includes materials and tools for laboratories to help identify outbreaks early, which field officers can report to the ministry. Dr. Antonio Querido, the FAO country representative, officially handed over this donation to Maj Bright Rwamirama, the Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, at the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Center (NADDEC) in Entebbe.
Querido emphasized that this donation is essential for the livestock sector, particularly in Karamoja. Its goal is to improve the region’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks, benefiting not just Karamoja but the whole country. Karamoja is considered a high-risk area by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries (MAAIF) due to its nomadic population and porous international borders that can facilitate disease transmission.
Querido acknowledged that the European Union (EU), in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) and other organizations, provided the funding for this donation. He highlighted the significant potential of Uganda’s livestock sector and stressed the importance of its continued and sustainable development.
Minister Rwamirama expressed his commitment to overseeing the vaccination campaign in Karamoja next month as part of the effort to protect the national livestock. He emphasized the importance of regional cooperation in controlling livestock diseases, as herding communities often cross borders.
Uganda recently signed agreements with Tanzania and Kenya for livestock disease control, and Minister Rwamirama indicated that a similar agreement would be reached with South Sudan.
Diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease and lung-related illnesses have hindered the growth of the livestock sector in Karamoja. Nonetheless, Uganda’s livestock industry remains strong and competitive in the region, with the country expected to reach a daily processing peak of 4 million liters of milk in the next two months. Rwamirama also mentioned that a Cabinet paper has been prepared to address animal health issues that have previously affected beef production.
He extended his appreciation to FAO and other partners for their support to the sector.