HomeAGRICULTURESwine Fever Claims over 60 pigs, DVO wants the Government to fast...

Swine Fever Claims over 60 pigs, DVO wants the Government to fast track the animal compensation policy.

Joshua Nahamya,

Sheema District.

Sheema– Over 60 pigs have reportedly died in the Sheema district following

the outbreak of African swine fever in the western districts of Uganda.

According to Dr. Joseph Amanya, the District Veterinary Officer (DVO)

Sheema, African Swine Fever (ASF) has seriously paralyzed the district

since farmers continue reporting about the death of their pigs.

Amanya says that reports started to emerge in October

2021 that swine fever had attacked the neighboring districts of Rukiga

and Ntungamo.

And it is from this background that Sheema district and the Municipality

leadership issued a circular banning the slaughter and movement of

pigs in and out of already affected areas to prevent the suspected

disease from escalating in the area.

However, the situation has soured when farmers have started

registering the death of their pigs in the district within one month

of the suspected epidemic.

Speaking to Alex Boona a resident of Kitagata Sub County Sheema

District, confirmed that he is among the farmers who have already lost

all his 21 pigs from the farm.

“I suspect the disease to have come from Buyanja village in Bushenyi

district because its where it started from where I heard that there was a

farmer who lost about 60 pigs. Then in our village I heard that my

neighbour lost about 5 pigs and another one lost about three then later

it’s when all my 21 got infected and died” Boona said

With deep pain, Boona appealed to the government to get the drugs to

vaccinate the few remaining pigs in the district.

“I buried all the 21 pigs but I am requesting government to get us a drug

to vaccinate the few remaining pigs so that they also don’t die because

pig rearing is our main source of income in Kitagata Sub County” He said

Also, Eldard Asiimwe explained the loss he suffered after losing his three

pigs and over 36 piglets to African swine fever.

“I had three pigs one with 12 piglets and another had 10 piglets while

another one also had 10 piglets but within a day, they had all died. I was

shocked and I am now stuck because this was our income generating

activity which would give us money within a short time a reason, I am

suspecting poverty to hit this village hardly” says Asiimwe

Dr. Amanya, says the disease claiming pigs in Sheema District has been

confirmed to be African swine fever after receiving positive results from

Entebbe National Diagnostic laboratory.

Dr. Joseph Amanya DHO Sheema District

“When we received information, we were able to pick samples which

were tested at the national laboratory in Entebbe national diagnostic

lab for livestock and we received a communication last week that the

results are positive for African swine fever but I am yet to get a full

report”. He said

Amanya also confirmed that it has so far killed over 60 pigs out of about

30,000 pigs were reared in the Sheema district.

“Currently we have about 30,000 pigs in Sheema district and in this

recent attack over 60 pigs have died but the good news is that for

Sheema it has not moved beyond the boundaries of one Sub County of

Kitagata because of the measures we put in place”. He reported

However, being a transboundary disease, Dr. Amanya says the

contagious ASF has traversed all the districts surrounding Sheema.

“We understand it could have started from Bushenyi but in less than one

month, it has spread to districts of Sheema, Mitoma and Buhweju

meaning that it respects no borders” he said

To farmers asking for vaccines, the DVO replied that African swine fever

being a virus disease has no treatment.

“It’s a viral disease, its non-treatable and there is no vaccine that has

been developed against African swine fever like any disease such as

lumpy skin, FMD and other diseases like PPR and it is highly contagious”

Amanya answered

It is a highly contagious disease and when it enters a village or a farm

most likely all the pigs will be affected and will all die because its

mortality can go up to 100%, he adds.

Way forward

Dr. Amanya advised piggery farmers to practice an all-in all-out system

instead of breeding to commercialize piglets which call for such

epidemic diseases.

“Ideally with the business of piggery, farmers are supposed to bring in

the pigs they can look after well and when time comes you slaughter at

once, clean your house, give a break and start afresh but this business

of keeping the pigs on the farm for two-three years to get more piglets

is a wrong business method and it is a reason why it’s complicated to

control such contagious diseases on farm”. He explained

“If farmers were doing the fattening, they would have slaughtered all the

pigs and a good thing swine fever is not zoonotic (the disease does not

cross to humans) so they would move ahead and slaughter all the pigs

and get money out of them but if you have such pigs which are about to

deliver then it complicates the epidemic control”. He added

Amanya also encouraged local farmers to start a modern piggery

farming to have complete meaningful farming.

“We need people who are certified breeders, then those who make

feeds, others doing fattening and then we get someone who buys and

slaughter. From there, the business would be complete and any

problem which comes in can be sorted; but now you find the farmer is

doing the fattening, is a nutritionist that’s why the piggery business

remains complicated and you find people doing it for a short term”. He

explained

“A pig is an animal-people thing where people think it can take care of

itself but in due course, you find most pigs are starved and others are

malnourished because they don’t get water and others are poorly

housed” Dr. Amnaya added

He also condemned the idea of people eating dead animals as they

fear to meet losses on the farm.

“Eating dead meat is not only for this case, it is something that we’ve

been fighting all the time but in veterinary public health any animal that

is dead is supposed to be buried so it shouldn’t be an exception for

African swine fever” the DVO said

“Most importantly for a disease like African swine fever where pigs are

fed on left overs, if you move meat of suspected case to the next village

you stand a risk of spreading it all over. This complicates the control a

reason as to why we ban the slaughtering and movement of any other

product in the district to save the rest of the herds” He added

Finally, Dr. Amanya wants the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and

Fisheries (MAAIF), to fast track the Animal Compensation Act to animals

lost to diseases such as FMD, African swine fever, or tick-borne diseases.

“As a department, there is no policy in place today that can allow

compensation. And I think those are some of the issues that the ministry

of animal husbandry should work on because in such a case we would

have slaughtered all the animals and disposed them off and

compensate the farmers to control the African swine fever there and

then” DVO explained

He insists that the compensation approach seems to be cheaper for the

government to control animal diseases as farmers would report in time

before the diseases escalate for bigger attention.

“When there is no compensation, some diseases would go unreported

which is dangerous and sometimes we can’t tell exactly when it started

but if there was a compensation policy, farmers would be able to report

immediately for effective disease management” Amanya emphasized

“The government would not even pay much in that case because you

would find some animals which have reached the market value, you

slaughter and put them in the market then pay for only those ones that

are affected by the disease”. He said

“We make a call to those who are responsible for making laws, to think

about such a law because if we had an enabling policy, we would have

destroyed every animal in the surrounding farms to control the disease

burden, the DVO insisted.

According to Amanya, the Sheema district has been battling with a number

of animal diseases right away from February 2020.

These include; Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), Foot and Mouth Disease

(FMD), African Swine Fever and lumpy skin disease.

“In February last year, we were battling Peste Petits Ruminants (the

disease in small ruminants that is goats and sheep) where many died,

from there FMD since April and when we were subsiding with FMD now

we go to African swine fever and also battling with lumpy skin disease in

cattle. But for all these diseases if we had a compensation policy where

we see disease and destroy a few animals it is not equivalent to the

cost of quarantine when farmers are not trading, their markets closed, and also the cost of treatment. It is a good policy where we call upon all

the policymakers to look into it because this is livelihood which hurts our

farmers once such a disease burden strikes”. Amanya explains.

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