Foot and mouth disease outbreak: City Council set to lose Billions of money as restrictions are imposed on Livestock and products
As Foot and Mouth Disease hits some areas in Ankore Sub-region, Mbarara City Council is expected to face huge loss of Millions and billions of money in revenue collection from the slaughter centers, Butchers dairies, factories and Hotels.
This comes following the decision by City authority to embark on the implementation of Foot and Mouth Disease Quarantine restrictions against the movement of animals and their products like milk and meat from entering the Town.
Mbarara City is among the Areas in Ankore Sub-region that was hit by FMD. Other areas where cases have been reported include Mbarara District, Ntungamo District, Ibanda Districts, Isingiro District, Kiruhura District among others.
Following the letter from the Commissioner Animal Health, Dr. Anna Rose Ademun dated 25/01/2024 declared an outbreak of FMD in Mbarara City and other neighbouring Districts. She also directed the authorities to impose a quarantine that restricts the livestocks and other animal products from the movement or being sold and bought from these areas.
In a press conference that was held on Tuesday this week at Mbarara City Council main Hall, the City Authority including the Mayor Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi, the City Town Clerk, Dr. Moses Amanyire the City Veterinary Officer, among others confirmed for a quarantine imposed on the movement of animals, animal slaughtering, selling of milk and selling of meat in butchers, pork joint points and hotels.
However, The Mbarara City Mayor Kakyebezi has revealed that the restriction on animal movement and selling of meat and milk is going to badly affect the economy of Mbarara City Council as far as revenue collection is concerned. That this will also affect some part of service delivery.
Kakyebezi stated that Mbarara City is currently the main regional Commercial Center for Western Uganda where there is market for every business Sector.
According to Mayor Kakyebezi, the City will count a very big loss of millions of money through revenue as a result of this restriction or as result of FMD. He mentioned that Mbarara City has been collecting a lot of money from the milk factories, slaughter centers and butchers and not forgetting the hotels that buy meat and milk for people’s consumption.
“I may not be able to calculate in terms of figures how much could be a loss by a result of this restriction or as a result of the FMD disease but the fact is that the City is going to lose millions and billions of money if the ban takes long here. We are looking at what happens in the City and what we get from the cows, goats, sheep and pigs. We have five milk factories which are operating and when these ones close automatically we shall lose huge amounts of money through revenue. We shall also lose money from the farmers who are supplying and when everything is stuck that will be a very big economic loss for us” said Kakyebezi.
“Two, we have over 300 butchers in the City and workers there and we have those people who are trading or selling and buying those animals to those who slaughter them, all these will be at stake and that is an economic problem where you find people cannot make any money now. We have very many hotels in Mbarara and these hotels buy milk, meat and people eat all of that and those hotels pay huge tax to the City Council, so we are also going to get problem now from hotel tax because they will give us excuses that they are not operating well which is an economic issue which we are facing as City” He added.
Kakyebezi finally emphasized farmers to be vigilant enough to ensure that the spread of the disease is controlled. That there should be cooperation among the farmers and the government in fighting such disease.
According to the status report about FMD, Mbarara City alone has registered about 20 active cases across the city and these are detailed as follows; In Bunusya ward have registered three farms affected, Rwemigina ward are four farms affected, three farms affected in Rwenjeru ward, Nyarubanga ward has seven farms affected, Rutti ward has three farms affected and Rwakishakizi ward has three farms affected. In all these cases highlighted they are being managed
According to Dr. Manyire, the activities that so far done after the City authority received the letter from the ministry, they have managed to hold special meetings to find strategies on how to manage the disease and sensitisation have been done. Enforcement has been deployed to the ward levels to implement the restrictions. The City has so far implemented the restrictions as per guidelines from the ministry and all the slaughter places, the butchers and the meat selling points have been closed. All the movements of all the affected animals have been closed.
Dr. Manyire has also revealed that the vaccination exercise of all the animals that are not yet exposed is still pending due to the delays of vaccine delivery by the ministry.
The City authority has therefore appealed to the Government or the ministry responsible to at least deliver the vaccines as early as possible to control the disease before it is widely spread in other communities that are not affected.
“The delivery of the vaccine like in the previous time is still a challenge that we actually get these vaccines after getting an outbreak and yet we should have got the vaccines before an outbreak. I urge the government and the ministry that we need to have these vaccines early enough so that we can always protect our animals and actually it not should be when we have FMD outbreak but it should be routine that we know every time every year we are doing vaccinations” said Dr. Manyire, the Mbarara City (CVO).
According to the statistics by the end of the last Financial year 2022-2023, Mbarara City had an estimated number of 14000 heads of cattle, 11500 goats and sheep and also around 20000 pigs.