Foot and Mouth Disease claims over 350,000 cows in Uganda

Foot and Mouth Disease claims over 350,000 cows in Uganda

More than 350,000 cows have died since the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) broke out in several parts of the country in October last year.

The disease was reported in 63 districts across the country.

They included among others Mbale, Manafwa, Namisindwa, Bududa, Isingiro, Ibanda, Bushenyi, Kiruhura, Karamoja and Nakasongola districts. Dr. Halid Kirunda, the Mbarara Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute, says the FMD outbreak has taken a huge toll on the livestock sector.

He says the FMD disease has claimed animals valued at over Shillings 250 billion since it broke out. Dr. Kirunda says various actors along the livestock value chain are losing 23 percent of their monthly income due to the outbreak. He says those involved in meat processing are losing about Shillings 38.5 billion each month.

“Since the average milk production in the country is 6.7 litres per cow per day and FMD is scientifically reported to cause 4.7 percent reduction in milk production of infected cows, Uganda is estimated to be losing about 2.2 million litres of milk per month,” he said.

A litter of milk costs Shillings 800 on a average, which means diary farmers are losing 1.8 billion Shillings each month. Vincent Bamulanzeki Sempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, said government will continue vaccinating animals.

He also said they have instituted groups at the sub county level in the affected districts to report new cases in their area. The minister also said they have mounted roadblocks in areas like Isingiro and Ibanda districts to monitor nomadism to prevent sick animals from the neighboring Tanzania from entering Uganda.

Sempijja assured the country that the FMD will be no more in the next two months. The FMD is an infectious and sometimes a fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids.

Uganda has a population of 14.3 million cattle, according to the 2016 figures from Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and the Ministry of Agriculture. This figure grew from 11.9 million in 2012; 13 million in 2013; 13.6 million in 2014 and 14.03 million in 2015.