KIRUHURA – The residents of Kiruhura District have decried the invasion of tsetse flies, calling for government support to eradicate the pests that have seen several cattle in the area die.
Kiruhura is one of the milk-producing districts in Uganda. Today, the cost of milk in the country is over Shs2000 per litre, but with the invasion of tsetse flies which affects milk production, in turn, the prices are anticipated to shoot higher.
During a plenary sitting on Tuesday, Nyabushozi County Member of Parliament, Wilson Kajwengye said that for the past five years, cattle farmers in Kiruhura have borne the burden of fighting tsetse flies, whose cost he said was exorbitant and discouraging to commercial cattle farmers.
“Unfortunately, we have lost the battle because the disease is chronic and cows lose weight. The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has intervened but minimally,” said Kajwengye.
He said that an estimated 100,000 herds of cattle have been affected by the diseases caused by the flies.
Kajwengye said Kiruhura has registered notable financial loss resulting from the decline in milk and beef production.
“It is estimated that the district has lost Shs26 billion and Shs15 billion from sales of milk and beef respectively,” he said.
He prayed that the Ministry of Agriculture should urgently procure and distribute tsetse fly traps saying they are easy to use and are environmentally friendly.
Kajwengye also asked the government to urgently provide equipment and other necessary laboratory consumables to Kiruhura district veterinary laboratory, which he said would help improve surveillance.
He also appealed to the ministry to work with the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Antiquities to carry out studies on tsetse fly control measures that would include the development of an appropriate acaricide that kills tsetse flies.
Speaker Anita Among said she received similar reports from residents during her recent visit to Kiruhura and asked the Agriculture Ministry to urgently assess the disease burden in the district.
“I think what you need to do is to send a team there to assess the level of the damage that has been caused,” she said.