RWANDA – Trade in livestock, meat, milk, hides, and skins in Kirehe district has been suspended by the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) on account of the detection of foot and mouth disease in the district.

According to Barisanga, a RAB official, the suspension of trade aims to mitigate the spread of the disease in the district and its neighbouring community.

He explained that the ban covered the movement and slaughter of cattle, goats, sheep and pigs and their products in the whole region.

“About 15 livestock were discovered in one village and this is a sign that it can spread quickly and affect a big number of livestock,” he said.

The board urged all the farmers whose livestock show signs of the disease to immediately report it to the officer in charge of agriculture at the sector level.

The farmers have also been urged to use recommended drugs that foot and mouth disease while all livestock that were previously in contact with those infected should be immediately reported and screened.

According to the department of agriculture, environment and rural affairs, on introduction to a herd, the FMD virus can spread very rapidly by direct and indirect transmission.

Affected animals have a high temperature, followed by the development of blisters chiefly in the mouth and on the feet.

As there is no specific treatment for FMD except for the use of antibiotics and milk disinfectants, RAB officials explained that the vaccination of livestock is available at no cost adding that all cows that have been in all sectors of Kirehe district for more than six months have to be vaccinated.

Local leaders, security institutions, farmers and other concerned institutions have been urged to increase efforts in enforcing guidelines on preventing the spread of the disease.

The outbreak of the disease could prove detrimental to the development of the sector which has been showing a lot of improvement recently.

In February the country announced to have exceeded its milk processing target by 1M litres as dairy development programs began to bear fruit.

Rwanda had targeted to have 20,069,334 litres of milk delivered to processing plants in the first 6 months of the 2022/2023 financial year from July 2022 to January 2023.

However, as of January 2023, about 21,066,384 litres of milk had been delivered to factories, as announced by Minister of Finance, Uzziel Ndagijimana, during the presentation of the revised 2022/2023 national budget in a joint parliament session.

The growth in milk production was attributed to the livestock insurance programme, artificial insemination and cattle vaccination among other measures employed by the Ministry of Agriculture.

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