Botswana pledges support to Uganda in developing FMD vaccine

H.E. Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Kaebetswe Masisi, President of Botswana (L) and President Yoweri Museveni (R) shake hands during the third South Summit of the Group of 77 and China at Speke Resort Munyonyo (Photo/PPU)

Kampala, (UG): President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Monday held discussions with his Botswana counterpart, H.E. Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi during a sideline meeting at the G-77+ China summit at Speke Resort, Munyonyo.

During the meeting, President Masisi pledged unwavering support to Uganda’s farmers in combating the foot and mouth disease by developing a vaccine.

“Your Excellency, We met some cattle farmers yesterday, they told us that they would want our assistance and I did promise them that we are dealing with the foot and mouth problem and we are producing the best vaccine in Botswana and what makes it unique is not just the efficacy of the vaccine that we produce but we produce for purpose. We would like to come and look at the blood samples of your herds in Uganda and we create the vaccine,” he said.

Proposing a bilateral program for comprehensive collaboration, H.E Masisi envisioned a government-to-government partnership to address the foot-and-mouth challenge.

He further assured President Museveni that their needs and potential, with Uganda’s remarkable 16 million cows, align perfectly with Botswana’s expertise in drug therapeutics.

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President Masisi also expressed Botswana’s keen interest in exploring the value chain and expanding collaboration in the dairy industry.

He noted that the potential export of milk from Uganda to Botswana is on the agenda, aiming to address Botswana’s feed shortage and enhance Uganda’s dairy sector.

On his part, President Museveni expressed gratitude for Botswana’s willingness to support Uganda in developing the vaccine. He emphasised the importance of familiarity and collaboration, paving the way for a fruitful partnership.

President Museveni further highlighted the historical challenges faced by the Ugandan cattle industry, tracing back to the colonial era. Despite adversity, he showcased Uganda’s remarkable progress, particularly in the dairy sector, where milk production has surged from 200 million to 5.5 billion litres annually.

“From 1989, I started the big efforts of joining the money economy and that meant producing for the market. Of course, due to the improved veterinary services, we now have 16 million cows.”

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President Museveni also encouraged Botswana to establish a feed manufacturing company in Uganda, leveraging locally produced resources like soya beans, sunflower cake, molasses, and cotton seed.

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