Ugandan farmers in anguish after ASF sweeps 100 pigs  

Pain for Ugandan farmers after ASF kills more than 100 pigs [Image: courtesy]
Uganda—The mood is somber in Uganda’s Masaka District after piggery farmers lost over 100 pigs to African Swine Fever (ASF) in the wake of Wednesday.

ASF  is a communicable disease that fast spreads among pigs and it last hit Masaka last June last year.

According to one affected farmer so far they have lost 30 of 35 pigs in two weeks.

“We started the piggery project during the first lockdown due to the fact that a pigsty can easily be erected on a small piece of land and they can multiply very fast,” she said during an interview.

“Considering what we have lost, we are going to delay all our plans to expand the project,” she added.

Statistics indicate that for an indigenous pig breed, the least one can earn is Shs120,000 while a crossbreed costs Shs300,000.

According to another farmer, they knew their pigs were infected with swine fever after the disease has already wiped out a big number of them. “One gets to know that the pig is infected when it has changed its color and lost appetite. At this stage, it is usually difficult to save the animal,” she said.

The district’s veterinary officer confirmed that more than 100 pigs have so far died of ASF, but the area is not yet under quarantine. He advised farmers to ensure that all visitors disinfect.

“Unlike many of the other animal diseases that have vaccines, swine fever has no cure and no vaccine. We have always advised the farmers to slaughter and bury the dead animals because the disease has the ability to quickly spread and wipe out all the pigs on a single farm, but a few are adhering to these guidelines,” he added.

Bright Rwamirama, the State Minister for Animal Industry, last year said scientists had made headway in inventing a vaccine for swine fever and it is expected to be on the market in a few years.