Ministry Yet to Decide Pesticide to Combat Resistant Ticks

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In short
Government is yet to decide on which type of Acaricide to use for killing ticks that have been resistant and are killing cattle in several parts of the country.

Government is yet to decide on the type of Acaricides to use for spraying resistant ticks in some parts of the country. 

The problem of resistant ticks was first reported in Kiruhura district in 2010. Farmers realized that the ticks were resistant to the usual acaricides likes Amidines, synthetic pyrethroids, Ivermectins and organophosphates.

The problem has also been reported in more than 27 other districts. According to statistics from the Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and fisheries ministries, 60 cows were dying each day between 2012 and 2013 in Kiruhura district alone representing a gross loss of between Shillings 48-60 million per day.

Although the Agriculture Ministry had initially recommended the use of vectoclor and a combination of other pesticides since they successful in Tanzania, and Democratic Republic of Congo, it is now it has established a committee to look at the type and quantity of the acaricides to use.

The technical team is comprised of officers from Makerere University, National Agricultural Advisory Services (NARO), Ministry of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). The team has until three weeks to come up with detailed measures to solve the tick problem. 

Agriculture Minister, Vincent Ssempijja, says although they had initially requested for Shillings 6 billion for the acaricides, the figure will be revised. He also says they will consider other proposal to fight the problem ticks.

"Initially we were to procure vectoclor, but this is pending the work of the committee. It will determine how we move forward with the fight against the ticks. We will first zone the most affected areas and then see how to manage the ticks" Ssempijja said in an interview with URN.

Ticks are known for transmitting deadly diseases to animals. The climatic conditions in most parts of the country provide ideal conditions for the survival of different kinds of ticks. 

The most dangerous and costliest is the East coast Fever, which kills up to 30% of the indigenous calf crop and close to 100 % of untreated exotic and cross-bred animals.

Treating a single case of East Coast fever costs Shillings 200,000 with no guarantee of recovery. The agriculture ministry is working with the Cuban government to get a vaccine to address the problem.


About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.