Livestock farmers will meet the cost of purchasing vaccine for the foot and mouth disease (FMD).
The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, told Parliament that the decision was made by Cabinet to ensure timely availability of vaccines in the country.
This was during the plenary sitting on Thursday, 08 December 2024 where Tumwebaze presented an update on government’s measures to curb FMD, following its outbreak in 36 districts in the cattle corridor, first recorded in November 2023.
“The farmer would be required to pay the cost of each dose of the vaccine (US$2 per dose) twice a year for each susceptible animal and present evidence of payment to the designated veterinary medical store,” he said.
The minister said that funds will be ploughed back into a revolving mechanism to be used for the timely placement of vaccine orders.
He added that Cabinet maintained that for purposes of bio-safety/security, government should remain in control of importation of the vaccines.
“This is to control the risk of any other private entity bringing into the country foreign strains which are not in Uganda thus further complicating the situation and could potentially wipeout the entire susceptible domestic animal population,” said Tumwebaze.
He said that that veterinary officers will be dispatched by government to administer the vaccine, a cost that will be met by government.
Cabinet further directed the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to provide a supplementary budget for procurement of 10 million doses of the FMD vaccine.
This will facilitate vaccination of the affected and neighbouring districts that are at high risk, and thereafter, make it easy for veterinary authorities to lift quarantine restrictions.
“Government will in the next Financial Year (2024/2025) create a revolving/buffer fund to kick start the procurement of FMD vaccines for the entire 44 million susceptible domestic animal population,” the minister added.
Farmers will further have to comply with a bi-annual FMD vaccination and a proof of vaccination will be a pre-condition for trade in animal and/or animal products.
To substantially reduce the cost of the vaccine, Tumwebaze said that government will support the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) to fast track FMD vaccine research and development.
“Transportation and procurement delays will also be mitigated thus guaranteeing a stable supply chain in the Country,” he said.
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, however, questioned government’s commitment to support production of a vaccine, based on a Parliamentary resolution in 2015 for government to set up an FMD vaccine plant.
“Could you come to Parliament and tell us that here is a budget with specificities of what you want to do so that if Parliament does not support you, you blame Parliament. But there is nothing of the sort, you are only promising that a vaccine will be developed,” Ssenyonyi said.
Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa said that since Parliament is in the budgeting process, consideration should be made to provide the required funds to curb the FMD.
“I hope it is fully reflected because there is willingness from Cabinet and Parliament. We should resolve this,” Tayebwa said.