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Government Implements Meat Sale Ban in Kampala

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The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) has imposed an unannounced ban on the trade of meat in Kampala in response to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Rubaga Division late last month. This decision, communicated through a letter from the Commissioner for Animal Health, Dr. Anna Rose Ademun, to the Executive Director of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) on March 1, mandates an immediate quarantine on livestock within the entire Kampala Capital City.

The ban prohibits the movement of cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, and their products and by-products within Kampala until further notice. Additionally, all livestock markets, slaughterhouses, loading grounds, and animal shows in the district have been ordered to close with immediate effect. Local governments within Kampala are tasked with enforcing these quarantine restrictions as per the Animal Diseases Act, Cap 38.

Foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease that affects animals, causing blisters on their feet and mouths. There is also a risk of transmission to humans through direct or indirect contact, including the consumption of meat from infected animals. The confirmed case of FMD in Rubaga on February 28 prompted swift action from the government to prevent further spread.

The ban poses significant economic implications, particularly for livestock farmers across the country, as Kampala serves as the main market for livestock products. The closure of abattoirs and the halt in meat sales will adversely affect thousands of jobs and livelihoods. Despite the potential economic fallout, the safety of city residents is prioritized by the authorities.

Efforts to contain the outbreak include mass vaccination of animals, but these initiatives face challenges, including the proliferation of counterfeit vaccines. The government has allocated significant resources to combat the disease, including the importation of 10 million doses of FMD vaccine and the establishment of a revolving fund for vaccine procurement. However, the financial implications of widespread vaccination remain substantial, given the large animal population at risk.

While pressure mounts to liberalize the importation of vaccines, the government remains cautious, citing concerns about the influx of counterfeit products. Unauthorized FMD vaccines are already circulating in the market, posing additional risks to livestock health and exacerbating the challenges of disease control.

President Museveni has expressed the government’s commitment to collaborating with scientists in Botswana to develop an affordable FMD vaccine, highlighting ongoing efforts to address the long-term challenges posed by the disease.

As the ban takes effect, stakeholders, including butchers and livestock traders, await further guidance and support from the authorities to mitigate the economic impact and ensure effective disease control measures in Kampala and beyond.