KIRUHURA: Pastoralists in Kiruhura district want the government to establish a livestock laboratory to facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of animal diseases. Livestock farming is one of the majorstay activities in Kiruhura District, which has 380,000 head of cattle.
Enock Beronda, a farmer, says that given the few extension workers in the district, getting someone to diagnose animal diseases is very expensive. He explains that farmers spend a lot of money collecting samples from sick animals for testing.
Fred Kyeshieja, a farmer in Nshwere Sub County, says that although the farmers can identify some of the animal diseases, they can’t determine the right drugs to use. He says that the construction of a livestock laboratory would help address this challenge.
Arthur Rwabweija, the LC I Chairperson of Mutanonga Cell in Rushere Sub County, says that they have lost many animals due to the long process it takes to pick and test samples. He says that they spend between Shillings 100,000 and 300,000 to pick, send, and test samples either in Mbarara, Entebbe, or Sembabule districts.
Anthony Tayebwa, the Kiruhura District Production Officer, says that currently, all samples are sent to the government livestock laboratory in Entebbe and Sembabule districts. He says that they lose more than five cows daily to diseases, which would have been stopped if they had had a lab to test the samples.
He says that the district has earmarked Shillings 100 million to construct both an animal and crop clinic in the next financial year. Dr. Grace Asiimwe, the Kiruhura District Veterinary Officer, says that the regional laboratory in Mbarara is sometimes overwhelmed by samples.
Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, says that the government is finalizing plans to establish regional laboratories and cold chain stores for vaccines in all cattle districts.
Apart from the centre in Entebbe, Uganda has six other regional veterinary laboratories in Masaka, Mbale, Mbarara, Kabarole, Arua, and Lira districts.