The ban was announced last year after 138 head of cattle tested positive for Foot and Mouth Disease FMD, a severe and highly contagious viral livestock infection. The disease affects cattle and swine as well as sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed ruminants.
Nakaseke district leaders have appealed to the Agriculture Ministry to lift a ban imposed on the sale of animals and their products in the area.
The ban was announced last year after 138 head of cattle tested positive for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), a severe and highly contagious viral livestock infection. The disease affects cattle and swine as well as sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed ruminants.
Characterized by fever and blister-like sores on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats and between the hooves, FMD is known to cause severe production losses. Veterinary officers say that Infected animals notably breathe out a large amount of aerosolized virus, which can infect other animals through the respiratory or oral routes.
It's on the basis of this that authorities in Nakaseke closed off all meat stalls and cattle loading sites in order to contain the spread of the disease. But the decision resulted in revenue loss to the district and pastoralists.
Nakaseke district Vice Chairperson Richard Mavuma says that the district lost 49 million Shillings in revenues in the financial year 2017/18 due to the closure of the cattle loading sites. As a result of the budget shortfall, the emoluments for councillors and administration expenditures have been revised.
Mavuma, however, says that unfortunately, the district and the Ministry of Agriculture have failed to enforce the ban leaving unscrupulous people to benefit from the quarantine.
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Pastoralists led by James Mushemeza are also bitter that some individuals are allowed to sell animals after bribing veterinary officers. The leaders and pastoralists now want the Ministry of Agriculture to partially lift the ban in areas that are not affected by foot and mouth disease and facilitate the district to contain it.
Doctor Moses Ssekandi, the Nakaseke District Veterinary Officer says that he has written to the Ministry of Agriculture indicating that most sub-counties in the area are free from the foot and mouth disease. He says the disease is only affecting the sub-counties of Kinoni and Wakyato.
Ssekandi asked the Ministry to allow farmers sell cattle on farms and provide them with enough vaccination to contain the disease.
The district councillors led by Joyce Nakabugo and Disan Lwanga say that many pastoralists are living in abject poverty over the ban. They backed a resolution by Veterinary Office to ask the Ministry to partially lift the ban to enable those who are not affected to get money to cater for basic needs.
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The District Police Commander Justus Asiimwe admitted that quarantine has not been effective in past over lack of cooperation from the communities. He, however, noted that they beefed up road checks to contain the problem.
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Nakaseke has been subjected to repeated quarantine over recurrent outbreaks of foot and mouth disease since 2015. According to district estimates, there are over 230,000-300,000 cows in Nakaseke district and the majority of the population rely on cattle products for income.