Francis Byarugaba, the Sembabule District Environment Officer says they are working on an ordinance that will fully operationalize the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act of 2003, for purposes of saving traditional tree species that are currently at great risk.
Kelen Amanya, the Ntusi Sub County councilor, says they are surprised by the level of destruction caused by the rains. She says the destruction has raised fears of food security since several plantations have destroyed.
In a letter dated July 7 and written by the Commissioner of Animal Health Dr Rose Ademun, a technical verification of the foot and mouth disease status undertaken by the ministry has revealed no active cases of Foot and Mouth Disease in the previously affected sub-counties.
For quite some time, farmers in the cattle corridor have been reporting a prevalence of ticks that do not respond to the available acaricides. But Sembabule District Production and Marketing Officer Dr Emmanuel Kalungi Kawooya explains that the resistance is largely due to inappropriate application of Acaricides by farmers.
During the meeting, Rwamirama instructed the total enforcement of the quarantine for two weeks to allow for a comprehensive vaccination exercise against the FMD in the area, after which an assessment would be conducted for possible opening of all livestock markets.
The farmers are spraying their animals with high concentrations of chemical mixtures that include pests and insecticides, acaricides and other weed-killers to invent own toxic concoctions that can suppress the ticks.
Rwamirama instructed for a total quarantine restriction for livestock and all related products for a period running for 14 days, to allow for a comprehensive vaccination exercise against Foot and Mouth Disease-FMD virus, after which an assessment will be conducted for possible opening of all markets.
Ssekikuubo’s arrest follows a bitter standoff between him and Sembabule district security authorities, whom he accuses of enforcing an unjustifiable quarantine on the sub-counties of Lwemiyaga and Ntuusi despite them being free from Foot and Mouth Disease-FMD.
Herdsmen and cattle dealers in Lwemiyaga County are at loggerheads with the district security personnel accusing them of imposing on the area unjustified quarantine, which has affected people’s livelihoods.
Dr. Emmanuel Kalungi Kawooya, the Sembabule District Production Officer as well as the Marketing Coordinator, says studies found that several water sources in the area contained toxic residual elements from agrochemicals varying between 40 to 50 percent.
Since Tuesday, the Sembabule district Police Commander Denis Musinguzi deployed antiriot personnel in Lwemiyaga where they have been engaging herdsmen in running battles to foil their attempts of taking livestock to market places, which were eventually also closed down.
Byarugaba says the district is facing high environmental degradation, characterized by mass tree cutting and depletion of swamps for charcoal burning and agriculture respectively. He says the department is considering tough regulations against the practices that harm the environment to save the area from severe weather conditions.
Patrick Ssendyowa, the chairperson of Mateete Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union says that the existing gap of extension services is directly contributing to very low and poor farm yields, which frustrates the aspirations of commercial agriculture. But Ssendyowa adds that despite the high demand for extension services, the area is poorly served.
Recently, Sembabule district received 86 sacks of cassava cuttings for distribution to farmers under the Operation Wealth Creation-OWC, a government program aimed at enhancing household participation in commercial agriculture.
Last week the herdsmen during a crisis meeting convened at rainbow motel in Sembabule town council gave the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries an ultimatum to lift the quarantine or else they demonstrate.
Sembabule district has been under restricted livestock movement for more than two years, following an outbreak of the highly contagious Foot and Mouth Disease in the area. Under their umbrella Sembabule Cattle Keepers Association, farmers have issued a 14-days ultimatum for the ministry to give a progress report on the quarantine.