The exercise to protect 1.3m livestock from a host of contagious transboundary animal diseases which, if untreated, could cause serious socioeconomic damage to rural beef producers, was completed earlier this week.
In cooperation with the government of Uganda, the FAO has successfully completed a target it set in 2015 to have over one million cows in the region vaccinated against a host of debilitating diseases.
Karamoja is a north-east region, home to a large percentage of Uganda’s national red meat herd, with over 2.5m cattle, 2.3m goats and 1.8m sheep.
“By vaccinating animals in this region, we are not only controlling and preventing future outbreaks in Karamoja, but preventing the spread of these diseases to other regions of the country,” said Alhaji Jallow, FAO country representative for Uganda.
Dubbed the ‘Strategic Livestock Vaccination Programme’, the exercise was funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID).
A further 500,000 cattle will be vaccinated against contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), 240,000 cows against foot-and-mouth disease, while 1m goats and sheep will be vaccinated against peste des petits ruminants and 400,000 goats against contagious caprine pleuropneumonia.
The aforementioned livestock diseases could cause serious vulnerability to the fragile meat-producing region in Uganda, according to Jallow. Livestock producers suffer from both direct and indirect losses if their livestock catches one of the contagious infections. These often require costly medication to treat the animal, but the death of an animal means the farmer will make no money at all from it.
“This vaccination exercise also serves as an intervention for building resilience and securing livelihoods in the region, a cause the FAO is committed to support,” added Jallow.