The Ministry of Agriculture is set to engage with local governments and livestock market heads to establish measures for controlling and managing livestock diseases, particularly in light of the ongoing outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) affecting 36 districts across the country.
Agriculture Minister Frank Tumwebaze revealed this initiative while briefing Parliament on Cabinet decisions regarding the FMD outbreak. Tumwebaze highlighted concerns about the role of livestock markets in disease transmission, citing examples where sick animals brought to market are rejected but then reintroduced into herds upon return home, contributing to the spread of diseases.
Tumwebaze emphasized the need for open debate on potentially replacing cattle markets, acknowledging resistance from local governments but urging cooperation for future discussions.
In response to MPs’ demands for long-term solutions, Tumwebaze announced Cabinet’s approval to procure 10 million doses of FMD vaccines. Priority will be given to border districts neighboring countries like Tanzania, Kenya, and South Sudan, as well as districts with high cattle populations.
MPs, including Nathan Byanyima and Robina Rwakoojo, stressed the urgency of both short-term and long-term measures for disease management. Byanyima emphasized the need for increased surveillance at border markets and called for free distribution of vaccines to affected farmers in the initial phase.