Uganda: Residents Ask Govt to Lift Animal Quarantine

13 February 2020

Residents of Katakwi District have appealed to government to lift the cattle quarantine imposed on their district.

On Tuesday, locals and cattle traders clasehed with the Agriculture minister, Mr Vincent Ssempijja, who had led a team of officials from the ministry to assess the invasion of locusts in the district.

Earlier, government imposed a quarantine in Katakwi District, especially on Ochorimongin Cattle Market to regulate movement of cattle to different areas due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

They accused the ministry of imposing a quarantine in their district for a long time.

Cattle quarantine involves banning movement and sale of animals and their products in the market.

"If we continue staying at home without business, our enterprises will collapse because we have to meet home needs and yet there is no business," Mr Cuthbert Okori, one of the cattle traders, said.

Mr Richard Adoki, a farmers, said they have failed to pay their children's school fees.

"We have our animals, we have goats, cattle and sheep. We are requesting you to kindly end the quarantine so that we sell our goats and cattle to raise money for tuition," Mr Adoki told the minister.

Foot and mouth is a highly infectious disease of cloven hoofed animals characterised by the formation of vesicles in and around the mouth and on the feet.

The Katakwi District chairperson, Mr Walter Elakas Okiring, said he has been facing difficulties in responding to several questions that the community has asking him about the quarantine.

However, Mr Ssempijja said the issue of quarantines does not fall under his docket, but promised to consult a technical team responsible for it.

According to him, it's only the commissioner of agriculture who has the capacity to impose or lift the quarantine.

He urged the public to embrace good disciplines of animal management until a technical team from the ministry confirms the district is disease-free.

Background

The first foot and mouth disease outbreak in Uganda was recorded in 1953. The last outbreak occurred in mid last year, forcing the commissioner for animal health in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Anna Rose Ademun Okurut, to declare a quarantine in parts of Sembabule, Nakasongola, Lyantonde and parts of Lwengo District.

Some veterinary experts say that before declaring an area completely free of the disease, it is mandatory for authorities to wait for at least six months from the time the last case was reported.

This implies that Sembabule, which reported its last case in September, is still one month away from that safe period.

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