State Minister for Animal Industry says that government is set to expand the immunisation programme of livestock against Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) so far reported in 47 districts.
Mr Bright Kanyontore Rwamirama says the disease has especially affected districts that lie in the cattle corridor.
The minister says vaccination is aimed at eliminating the disease that has caused economic losses to the country adding that the livestock population for which disease management must be undertaken is estimated at 14.8 million head of cattle, 16 million goats, 5.4 million sheep, five million pigs and over 60 million poultry.
He disclosed that livestock contributes five per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Uganda through livestock sales and livestock products including meat, milk, ghee, eggs, horns, hooves, hides and skins.
However, Mr Rwamirama says these markets require high quality and safe animal products adding that for Uganda to continue enjoying accessibility to regional and international markets for animals and animal products; there is a need to meet the prescribed sanitary measures and one of them is being free from diseases.
He said the frequent occurrence of diseases such as FMD, brucellosis, anthrax and rift valley fever among others downplays the contribution of the livestock sub sector to the national GDP.
Mr Rwamirama said that as part of the global effort, government also put in place deliberate programmes for control and eradication of the most important trade sensitive diseases with special focus on FMD.
“Prevention of Foot and Mouth Disease is by repeated vaccinations of herds before the outbreak to create the desired immunity to prevent future outbreaks. The ministry procured 2.3 million vaccine doses for Foot and Mouth Disease,” “he says.
The minister adds that the supply and delivery of this vaccine consignment was phased and so far 900,000 doses have been delivered and the remaining 1.411 million doses will be delivered in June this year.
Mr Rwamirama says that his ministry established an Agriculture Police Unit to support its enforcement and regulatory activities including animal movement control activities.