The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Livestock Farmers Urged to Respect Quarantine

Kayonza — The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, has urged livestock farmers affected by Foot and Mouth disease to respect the quarantine imposed in their respective areas.

While addressing farmers in Murundi sector, Kayonza district over the weekend, Kalibata warned that whoever would be found moving cattle from areas under quarantine, would be punished.

Foot and Mouth disease that recently struck most sectors in the districts of Gatsibo, Nyagatare and Kayonza, is said to have originated from neighboring Tanzania.

"Trouble erupted when cattle keepers started searching for water...water was only available in Gabiro. This is where cows from different areas mixed, hence the spread of the disease...You know some cows were infected prior to entering Gabiro," she revealed.

"Cows in Gabiro and other affected areas are under the quarantine...it is unfortunate that some farmers still sneak their uninfected cows to drink water in Gabiro. This is what spreads the disease more," she added.

Kalibata explained that the ministry put in place the quarantine for the benefit of the farmers, adding that no one should violate it.

"If farmers continue to disrespect the quarantine, it will take longer...the disease has a negative socio-economic impact. Markets will be closed, milk market will be affected and the general farmers' production will be reduced. Let us all own the fight against the disease".

Geofrey Mugisha, one of the farmers told The New Times that farmers were indeed to blame for the spread of the disease.

He said that unless heavy punishments were put in place for those engaged in movement of cows, the disease would spread further.

"Some of our farmers have a nomadic kind of attitude...they tend to enjoy movement of cows. Not even the scare of the deadly disease, is giving them a lesson. Let serious punishments be imposed," he said angrily.

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