US Army hands over $2m lab to limit cattle diseaseAgona, who represented the agriculture minister, asked researchers and scientists to use the facility in a productive way.
May 22—The United States Army, under the auspices of USAID in Uganda, have handed over a UGX 10 billion Biosecurity Diagnostic Laboratory to help limit livestock diseases in Uganda.
“Uganda has been lacking a facility to detect and control diseases early. With this facility there will be rapid and accurate diagnosis of diseases so that we are able to handle disease before they break into an outbreak and cause farmers losses,” Swidig Mugerwa, Director of Research at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) said early this week. NaLIRRI operates under the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO).
According to NaLIRRI, the biggest problem for livestock farmers, is disease control. This is against a backdrop of inadequate government prevention schemes and funding to buy the necessary vaccines.
Experts say beyond pharmaceuticals, the lack of a veterinary infrastructure means that there is very limited diagnosis, monitoring or reporting, for timely disease control.
Disease has curbed Ugandans from fully developing the beef industry including expanding exports. Only a fraction of the country’s livestock farmers have access to good extension services however the government is currently on a drive to recruit workers.
Located at Nakyesasa in Wakiso District, central Uganda, the new lab was financed by the United States Department of Defence under the Defense Threat Reducing Agency (DTRA) through the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program.
Not only will the facility support efforts to improve biological security and safety of livestock, but also help control emerging and reemerging livestock disease outbreaks like Ebola, Anthrax, Brucellosis, foot and mouth disease among others.
Ambrose Agona, the NARO Director General NARO who represented the agriculture ministry, asked researchers and scientists to use the facility in a productive way. He said, “Produce real time data and solutions that will solve the problems facing farmers. That way, the US citizens will be getting a real return on their taxes that were donated to us to put up this facility.”