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Cattle traders frustrate efforts against FMD in Teso

Cattle traders move animals across Teso sub region despite imposed quarantine. File Photo

Katakwi, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The continuous movement of animals across the Teso sub region is frustrating efforts by veterinary officials in the fight against Foot and Mouth Disease-FMD.

FMD is currently reported across five districts in Teso sub region, Katakwi being the worst hit with four sub-counties (Kapujan, Getom, Katakwi and Okulonyo). The other districts are Kapelebyong with two sub-counties (Okungur and Obalanga) while Ngora, Bukedea and Amuria have a sub-county each with reported cases of FMD.

But despite this, cattle traders in Katakwi district still buy, load and transport animals in areas where a livestock quarantine was earlier declared. According to Dr Robert Ojala, the senior veterinary inspector in charge of North- Eastern Uganda at the ministry, the cattle traders have resorted to Apolin loading ground when the government closed Ocorimongin cattle market during the Covid-19 lockdown.

He says that the breach of quarantine restrictions in the affected areas is a risk to the health of several animals in the region and livelihoods in the community.

But Oscar Ageca, the East Kyoga Regional Police spokesman says that there is a communication gap between the concerned offices and the police, which sometimes creates weaknesses in enforcement.

Geoffrey Omolo, the district chairperson of Katakwi says that his office was not aware of the breach of FMD restrictions until last week when he received a letter from the Ministry of Agriculture about the same.

“As a district, we don’t condone any acts that contravene government policies and directives. I contacted the business community after receiving the letter and they told me that were not aware of the restrictions. I think the MAAIF team should streamline their communication on such serious issues”, he said on phone.

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