President Yoweri Museveni has attributed the rampant loss of livestock in the country to the failure by veterinary officials to sensitize the farmers on proper drug use against ticks. He also said that lack of zoning regions for easy management, farmers’ laziness and government laxity over control of animals’ drugs distribution channels to the farmers and violations of livestock rights are the other causes of the loss of livestock.
The President was speaking at the launching of a new drug (Vectoclor Acaricide) against ticks. The drug is used by spraying cattle against resistant ticks that have threatened cattle in the country for many years. The Acaricide has a combination of three drugs and is manufactured in Brazil. The demonstration was conducted at Kiruhuura district headquarters in South Western Uganda by a technical team from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, led by the Commissioner in Charge of Animal Diseases Control Dr. Agnes Rose Ademun. The President noted that the launch had opened a massive national campaign to eradicate ticks in the country.
“Ticks did not come yesterday. In Western Uganda’s cattle corridor, the nomadic way of life was caused by the presence of ticks and worms, which hindered animals to multiple at a reasonable rate since 1958. By the time of independence, Uganda had seven million heads of cattle. But because of political turbulence, the number reduced to three million by 1986. However, since the inception of NRM, the number of cattle has increased to 14 million because of the prevailing peace. However, there have been mistakes caused by the veterinary section that never guided the farmers properly yet they had the knowledge, equipment and capacity to educate the people,” he said.
Mr. Museveni observed that even if there is a plague, animals do not die in big numbers after they have been vaccinated with antibiotics. “I am convinced that this new drug spray against ticks is going to be effective. If it succeeds, it will be openly and officially legalized for public use,” he added. He, therefore, urged the mobilisers to create awareness of the new drug through the use of the mass media.
The President pledged 6 water tank trucks to cattle keepers in Kiruhuura district in an effort to tackle the challenging drought season and scarcity of water. He noted that the trucks will assist the community to access water for animals on fueling the truck at individual level.
Mr. Museveni also reminded the people about wetlands protection adding that it is indiscipline “by not preserving water sources like lakes, rivers and swamps.” He stressed that local government officials in the country should take charge of sensitizing the communities about environmental protection as a matter of everyone’s concern.
State Minister for Animal Industry, Hon. Joy Kabatsi, said that national income from livestock is one the economic pillars as the Uganda in pursuit of the middle income status economy.
The Commissioner for Animal Health, Dr. Rose Ademun observed that following the launching of the acaricide, the technical team from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries will roll-out a cleansing exercise on selected cattle farms to evaluate the performance of the drug in eradicating resistant ticks. She added that the Ministry will also gazette two zones, i.e. one in the North of the River Nile and another South of the Nile to be able to manage well the control of ticks.