On Tuesday the Ministry of Agriculture was questioned by the Right honourable speaker Anita to give an account of how Shs25Bn allocated for the production of foot and mouth disease Vaccines was used in the midst of the recent outbreak of the deadly virus amongst the cattle population in Uganda.
In November 2021, Parliament approved a supplementary request by the Ministry of Agriculture, seeking for Shs95.216Bn and of this money, Shs70Bn was meant for the procurement of 200 assorted tractors, implements and accessory units and Shs25Bn was meant to finance shortfalls on vaccines for the control of Foot and Mouth Disease.
The Speaker’s response was in response to a statement by Bright Rwamirama, State Minister for Agriculture who was responding to concerns raised by a section of legislators on the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease that is ravaging the nation and has led to the death of cattle, with Speaker admitting to having lost 50 heads of cattle at her farm in Bukedea district.
While responding to Minister Rwamiramato the expenditure said that the Shs25Bn did a good job and one of them was to facilitate veterinary professionals to do the vaccine.
Furthermore, the Minister revealed that from January to October 2022, 22 districts reported FMD outbreaks and these include; Adjumani, Amuru, Bukedea, Ibanda, Jinja, Kalungu, Kapchorwa, Kayunga, Kiruhura, Kween, Kyolero, Lyantonde, Masindi, Mpigi, Nakapiripirit, Nakasongola, Napak, Ntungamo, Sembabule and Tororo.
He also revealed plans by the Ministry of Agriculture to vaccinate the susceptible livestock in the affected 22 districts with the 930,200 doses of FMD vaccine expected in the Country while awaiting another consignment of 1,635,700 doses to be delivered.
Surprisingly a section of lawmakers like Busiro county East MP Medard Sseggona Lubega raised loopholes in the strategy laid out by the Ministry of Combat FMD and asked the Government to empower the local production of the vaccines.
Sseggona questions whether when farmers have banana weevils in Uganda, the government provided drugs for the farmers, arguing that some of the richest men and women in Uganda have over 10,000 heads of cattle but are also waiting for free things from the government.
He also criticized the government for the discriminatory quarantines slapped on different areas, arguing that some officials are profiting from these quarantines, by blocking farmers from selling their cattle, while turning around to buy the cattle and later sell them at higher prices.
Kapir County Abraham Ismat urged the Government to emulate Kenya which has set up a company that manufactures FMD vaccines, saying it is the only sustainable method to deal with the crisis of porous borders that make it hard to control the movement of cattle into the country.