President Yoweri Museveni has asked livestock departments in the country to explain their failure to get lasting solutions for diseases affecting the sector.
Speaking at a Ministry of Agriculture meeting on tick control, the President wondered why there are departments such as the Veterinary Department and Makerere University research centre yet the diseases keep killing cattle.
The President outlined categories of cattle diseases including East Coast Fever, Anaplasmosis, Birdslosis and heart water disease. Others are rinder pest and contagious bovine plural pneumonia.
The Worm category diseases include round worms, tick worms and flukes with trypanosomiasis as a tsetse fly disease. He also cited endemic types such as anthrax, Brucelosis, lumpy skin disease, and foot and mouth disease.
The President who is a known cattle keeper says most of his cows have been killed by rinder pest and tsetse fly borne diseases. However with time, they were eliminated using Decatix.
He also questioned why veterinary officers look on as cattle die in different parts of the country with an excuse of pesticides being too expensive for any farmer, district or central government to afford.
The officers also blame liberalization that saw private entities importing the pesticides which increased costs on the market.
Bright Rwamirama, the Minister of state for Animal Industry, revealed that Bank for Economic Development in Africa has donated to Uganda 19 million dollars to get rid of tsetse flies in Eastern Uganda. He added that the Ministry will soon launch the tick control and disease task force.
President Museveni is convinced that solutions to the cattle diseases are available if the ministry works comprehensively to eradicate them. He also cited drugs such as Gamatox, Cooper Tox and Fizer tox which can be used to kill ticks. The problematic ticks include Rhipicephalus sanguineus , Boophilus and Ambylome.
Through a personal experience with non-responsive drugs, the President wondered if Uganda has a veterinary department when cattle farmers are not informed of how long a drug remains effective.
He also noted that Uganda needs to vaccinate cattle, mass de-worming and improving on cattle nutrition and pasture if cattle deaths are to be cut down. According to the President at Independence Uganda had seven million heads of cattle, but because of war, the number had by 1985 shrunk to 3 million. Currently there are 14 million heads of cattle.
Dr Gordon Ssematiko, the National Drug Authority Executive Director, says they carried out a research to find out why some pesticides were not killing the ticks. It was discovered that farmers were choosing the wrong acaricides, wrong dilution, using wrong applicators such as brooms and herbal spray pumps.
The NDA maintains that all imported acaricides are tested and checked at the laboratory but the misuse is human error.