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New Technical cooperation project to support the government of Uganda address ticks and tick-related challenges launched

FAO Representative in Uganda, Dr Antonio Querido sign commitment to support the national response to ticks and tick-borne diseases in Uganda
09/07/2019

Farmers struggling with the widespread ticks and tick-borne diseases (TBDs) will soon have relief following the launch of a new Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP)  by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, together with the Government of Uganda.

 

The TCP aims to assist the government and farmers towards containment  of tick acaricide resistance, ticks and tick-Borne Diseases, to foster sustainable livelihoods of small and medium scale cattle farmers in Uganda.  The project titled: “Response to the containment of tick resistance and tick-borne diseases in Uganda” seeks to contribute to the reduction of rural poverty through increasing the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises caused by ticks and tick-borne disease and boosting livestock productivity. Building on a recently-concluded FAO technical assessment of animal health challenges posed by ticks and TBDs, this project will support farmers in Uganda’s cattle corridor, a most-affected region, through provision of technical information and guidelines on ticks.

 

According to the FAO Country Representative,  Antonio Querido, the technical cooperation project, already in implementation, will support the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, to do further research on ticks, acaricide resistance and tick-borne diseases in collaboration with Makerere University’s COVAB Center for Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases (RTC),National Livestock Resources Research Institute and  establish technical  working groups and a National Action Plan  for management of ticks and tick borne diseases while at the same time  conducting regular capacity building trainings to enhance compliance with regular surveillance and use of appropriate control measures amongst key stakeholders.   

 

Other areas of focus include strengthening diagnosis of tick resistance to acaricides at regional laboratory centres, strengthening of relevant legislation and policies for control of ticks and tick-borne diseases at national and local government levels.

The prevalence of ticks and tick-borne diseases, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and in particular East Africa, presents one of the biggest challenges to livestock production. In Uganda, controlling ticks and tick-borne diseases (TBDs) accounts for more than 50 per cent of the running costs of farmers. For many small and medium scale farmers, controlling ticks, as well as the resistance of some tick populations to most acaricides on the market, has resulted in panic and rapidly diminishing livelihoods.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Mr Pius Wakabi while speaking at the meeting indicated that Uganda imports an estimated 370,000 litres of different classes of acaricides, and  83,000 litres of them anti tick borne diseases drugs (parvaquone, Buparvaquone among others) causing an annual forex outflow worth over UGX. 300 Billion for only TTBDs.

“Unfortunately, the cost of Ticks and Tick-Borne disease control is 100% borne by the farmers who have become increasingly helpless and frustrated with the resistant ticks.  I am happy to report that the government has now prioritized this issue and provided funding for nationwide tick cleansing,” Pius said.

Through several studies, the Government of Uganda has made efforts to address some of the gaps in the control of ticks, tick acaricide resistance and tick-borne diseases, including enhancing human capacity to detect and control TBDs. Some of the challenges in the effective management of tick acaricides resistance and TBDs include weak institutional frameworks to coordinate efforts to address tick resistance and TBDs, limited knowledge and practices in the capacity and skills required for acaricide application and poor quality of acaricides on the market, which have been earmarked to be addressed under the FAO-MAAIF technical programme.

Honourable Joy Kabatsi, the State Minister for Animal Husbandry, while launching the project in Lyantonde District called on all stakeholders to urgently put in place a national action plan on tick cleansing.

“You have done enough research. We have recruited veterinary officers up to the Sub-county level and now, we have received funding. Our next course of action should be putting in place and start on its implementation as soon as possible.”

The livestock sector contribution to Uganda's economy is estimated USD 27bn, in addition to being a major source of livelihood to over 2 Million households.