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Veterinary doctors warn on rushed MAAIF livestock census

UVA: Focus should be on containing diseases at this point in time

Nakasongola, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The national association of veterinary doctors of Uganda (UVA) have advised the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry not to rush to conduct a livestock census without their input.

In a statement, they said a hurriedly held census will be a waste of money and produce distorted results that will not be beneficial to improving standards in the sector. The Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) also warned about dangers of the farther spread of Foot and Mouth Disease by enumerators walking around the whole country.

Dr Kasibule has written to the statistics bureau and Ministry of Agriculture, advising on best way forward. On his right is Gen Secretary Dr Obbo

“We are currently still battling out with the notorious Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) that has devastated our national herd. The solutions to FMD are yet to be resolved and instituted,” UVA President Dr Daniel Kasibule wrote to the census implementing agency Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

“We have notably realized that attention bas been given to SOPs ( Standard Operation Procedures) of COVID-19 but none to this livestock enigma. Other existing livestock epidemics like African Swine Fever (ASF), New Castle Disease (NCD) and Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) should also be considered while drawing the SOPs,” Kasibule wrote.

The State Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Bright Rwamirama early this month announced that The National Livestock Census, 2021 will be conducted from next week,  May 17 to 28. It is planned to be conducted  in all four cattle corridor areas of Western, Eastern, Central and Northern Uganda.

The Minister said the National Livestock Census will ascertain a complete count of the country’s livestock and its associated characteristics. The last Livestock census was conducted in 2008 & revealed that about 4.5 million households (70.8%) rear at least one kind of livestock or poultry in Uganda.

Training of census supervisors starts

Training for National Livestock Census supervisors and enumerators is already underway, but UVA said the scope of training is insufficient for an exercise like this.

“Quality information that will be generated requires a minimum level of training that can understand production systems, different breeds, farm infrastructures, aspects of management of agricultural holdings disaggregated by sex etc. This will definitely require personal with higher animal related training, if not, will need training beyond the provided one week,” wrote Dr Kasibule.

A total of 32,486 Enumeration Areas (EAs) or villages will be covered in the whole country, 23,443 EAs in the 560 cattle corridor sub-counties while 9,043 EAs will be sampled & enumerated from the 961 non-cattle corridor sub-counties”

Kasibule also added that, ” It should be appreciated that the animal health workers understand the locations of the formers and their enterprises better; they are also in most cases already equipped with transport. They also easily appreciate the technical details of the census and their being end users of the generated information motivates them to gather accurate data.”

UVA warned that the census campaign has mainly been on social media, yet many veterinarians and ordinary farmers aren’t complaint to this mode of communication.

They advised that poultry, rabbits and piggery be included in the census and all cattle corridors be considered.

We appreciated the issue of financial constraint leading into some districts conducting total census (Cattle corridor) while others do enumeration area surveys. However many catttle districts have been omitted for example Kayunga, Buyende and Kamuli. The paradigm shift in farming due to population increase leading to increase in poultry, rabbits and piggery should be considered. Total counts of these especially in leading districts like Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso, Masaka and Mpigi need to be considered.

Kasibule concluded his letter by saying, “We pray that these concerns amongst others be considered as urgent for the smooth progress of this vital exercise.”

Another frustrated veterinary doctor, best illustrated the sector’s frustration by saying, “To us livestock specialists we want accurate and dependable statistics . This is the only chance for this marginalized sector.”

The Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) is a Civil Society Organization of over 1,223 members with a mission of promoting professionalism, welfare and interests of members to foster better livestock service delivery.


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