The lack of joint control approaches against Foot and Mouth Disease- FMD by Uganda and Tanzania.
Livestock farmers in the two border districts have for years been struggling with recurrences of Foot and Mouth Disease which has subjected them to endless quarantine restrictions imposed as a way of combating the spread of the disease in the area.
However, the farmers are arguing that the failure by both countries to put in place joint control measures has turned the border districts into breeding grounds for FMD, which has frustrated efforts to eliminate the disease in the country.
During the stakeholders meeting on the management of the disease held in Mutukula town council, the farmers have demanded that government initiates bilateral negotiations with Tanzanian authorities to join efforts to fighting FMD.
Francis Lubinga, a cattle farmer of Minziiro in Kyebe sub-county, Kyotera district indicates despite having different prevention approaches, animals from either the country are freely grazing from common and water sources which increases the risk of disease spread amongst them.
According to Lubinga, while many local farmers are practicing some levels of prevention including vaccination against FMD, their Tanzanian counterparts have remained reluctant yet they cannot be stopped from grazing beyond their border.
Edmond Zziwa, another farmer in Kibaale sub-county, Rakai district argues that despite the FMD threat in Tanzania, Ugandan farmers are still tempted to cross the border to graze from the pastures in wetlands across, where there are even no restrictions being enforced.
He observes that it is high time, Ugandan authorities engaged their counterparts and agree on common response methods if they are to eliminate FMD, which has greatly affected people’s incomes.
Doctor John Lutaya, the Kyotera District Veterinary Officer, says that the lack of a joint approach is making it difficult to enforce quarantine restrictions.
He says the current situation calls for joint efforts from both countries if they are getting rid of the FMD. Dr Lutaya however indicates that they recently presented the concern to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry for consideration.
Bright Rwamirama, the State Minister for Animal Industry says they are going to access the reports such that they are guided on their course of action towards solving the problem.
He however challenges the leadership of the affected districts to ensure heightened operations of their veterinary and border intelligence teams such that can avert the transportation of animals without health certificates.
Rwamirama says the Ministry has embarked on a targeted mass vaccination exercise against FDM in districts that are most at risk.