NARO’s Deputy Director General, Dr. Swidiq Mugerwa said that the ongoing works at the facility will take at least four months before the centre commences full-scale production of the anti-tick production to save livestock farmers from the commercial burden of ticks.
Cows feeding at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI). Photo by Dominic Ochola
The construction of a 60-billion
Shillings Anti-Tick Vaccine Production Facility at Nakyesasa in Nalukulongo, Wakiso District will be
concluded in April 2023, according to the National Agricultural Research Organisation –
2022, NARO, officially commenced field trials of the anti-tick vaccine dubbed TicVac-U which was developed by Makerere University scientists led by renowned Dr. Margaret Kahwabefore the strain was rolled out to farmers through massive production.
NARO’s Deputy Director General, Dr. Swidiq Mugerwa
disclosed to URN in an exclusive interview that ongoing work at the facility will take at least four months
before the center commences full-scale production to save livestock farmers from the commercial burden of ticks.
//Cue in: "This facility the Gov’t…
Cue out: …farmers in this country."//
Dr Mugerwa also revealed after such ground-breaking
research in the Anti-Tick vaccine, NARO has also made headway into finding a vaccine
for Food and Mouth Disease – FMD, and African Swine Fever which will all
require production facilities to meet market demands within the East African
Community – EAC bloc.
//Cue in: "NARO is undertaking…
Cue out: …and to the region."//
In all tropical
African countries except Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and
Egypt, as well as South Africa and Namibia, ticks affect the
health of humans and animals. Cattle are threatened by ticks and the diseases
they transmit, making necessary tick control to avoid endangering the
production of this industry.
Dr. Fredrick Kabi, the
Principal Investigator for the Anti-Tick Vaccine Project at the National Livestock Resources
Research Institute (NaLIRRI) revealed that tick-borne diseases
pose a significant threat to the livestock industry in Uganda. Annually, the government
spends up to 3.8 trillion Shillings in mitigation measures.
Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and
Fisheries pointed out that the anti-tick vaccine was rolled out for the final
trial stage and passed the tests for the initial stages of prequalification.
It was undertaken at NARO Mbarara ZARDI, Isimba Prison Farm in Masindi
district, Kiburara Prison Farm in Ibanda district, Maruzi Research Station in
Apac district, and Nabuin ZARDI in Nabilatuk district.
Tumwebaze emphasized that these locations represent the Pastoral
Rangelands, Western Highlands, Lake Albert Crescent, Mid-North Savannah
Grasslands, and Karomaja Drylands Agro-Ecological Zones respectively.
vaccines were first tested in Australia and Cuba by scientists in 1937 but in
Uganda, the development of the vaccine is the first of its kind. In Africa, it
is only Kenya and Botswana that produce the FDM vaccine.
livestock farmers are currently spraying their animals every week, but with the
vaccine, they will spray twice every 6 months. The injectable vaccine has given
promising results against brown, blue, and red ticks.
In January, Members of Parliament on the Public
Accounts Committee (Central) queried the delays in the manufacturing
of the anti-tick vaccine and foot and mouth disease vaccines by NARO despite
funding from the government. The Auditor General’s Report for Financial Year
2020/2021 also queried the same.
Ochola's journalism career begun from Radio King 90.2 FM in Gulu around 2009, and Radio Rupiny 95.7 Fm under Vision Group in 2012. He also reported for Mighty Fire 91.5 Fm, Kitgum in 2015 before joining Wizarts Foundation in 2017.
He has been reporting for Uganda Radio Network (URN) since 2017 before being posted as Bureau Chief Kitgum, and later Gulu between 2018 - 2021. Currently, he reports from Parliament.