Current Affairs

Bududa livestock farmers irked by gov’t delayed intervention over anthrax outbreak

However, more than one month and a half after the outbreak of the disease in the district, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries, and Fisheries

BUDUDA, UGANDA: The government’s failure to intervene over the outbreak of anthrax in Bududa district has irked livestock farmers. Bududa district confirmed the outbreak of anthrax in May this year after claiming one person and over 30 heads of cattle.

However, more than one month and a half after the outbreak of the disease in the district, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries, and Fisheries has not provided a solution to the livestock farmers. According to the local authorities, they announced a temporary livestock quarantine with the hope that the government would swiftly provide vaccines in vain.

Dr. Felix Odongo, the Bududa District Production Officer told URN that since the confirmed outbreak of the disease, they have not seen any intervention from the central government. He says that the district has continued to sensitize farmers to privately vaccinate their animals.

“The quarantine is still on because we have nothing to do. You know government things move slowly, but they have promised to intervene with the vaccines, which we are still waiting for,” he said. Bududa LCV Chairperson, Milton Kamoti Wasunguyi, said that the government only stopped at sending assessors at the time of the outbreak who have never returned since the quarantine was instituted.

He said the district requires over Shillings 600 million to procure the vaccines for the mass vaccination exercise, adding that the government should intervene and save the people whose livelihood depends on cattle.

John Baptist Nambeshe, the Manjiya County MP, who is also the Opposition Chief Whip noted with concern that the government’s failure to address the problem has impoverished the people who depended on livestock as their source of income.

Fred Mushiso, a farmer and contractor operating Bududa Weekly Market, says that several people in the district depend on animals but they can’t sell livestock now because of the ban.

Emmy Mitala, the Bududa Resident District Commissioner said that the Ministry of Agriculture has simply neglected them, noting the biggest contribution they received from the ministry officials was to confirm the disease and quarantine in the district.

He said that the enforcement of the quarantine is becoming hard given the increasing costs of fuel yet the district has not received any form of facilitation.

Bududa and the neighboring Manafwa and Namisindwa districts instituted an animal quarantine and closed all livestock markets to fight anthrax. They banned the movement of animals or animal products into or out of the districts and the slaughter of cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs.

Anthrax is an infectious bacterial disease of animals, caused by the spore-forming bacteria Bacillus anthracis. It can affect humans and a wide range of animals. Cattle and sheep with anthrax generally die suddenly.

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