Farmers across the nation recently cried out to government against its limited involvement in regulating the drugs and veterinary sector that had been compromised by a large number of fake drugs in circulation. The various concoctions being sold proved inefficient and sometimes hazardous to both the vegetation and livestock, in addition to posing a threat to the environment.
The vehement outcry from concerned parties compelled President Yoweri Museveni into action; giving a directive to the state Minister of Animal Husbandry Joy Kabatsi to have the sources investigated and fake drugs withdrawn from the market. He directed that an additional Shs100 billion be availed to facilitate the fight against fake bogus animal drugs but also provide legitimate veterinary products that will freely be dispersed to farmers starting this month.
The supply of fake veterinary drugs on the Ugandan market comes at the time when the effects of global warming are posing challenges to the country’s agricultural sector with crops and animals dying of due to long dry spells as well as flooding. Analysts say such challenges affect farm’s agricultural productivity and production.
Formerly known as the ‘food basket’ of Africa, Uganda has long been regarded as one of the biggest exporters of agricultural products throughout the region, although recent studies now show other countries such as Kenya are exporting to Uganda agricultural products.
Museveni, a farming enthusiast, has taken the onus upon himself to promote agriculture and all its benefits amongst the population of Uganda through various projects such as Operation Wealth Creation and even his personal forums, where he continues to share various anecdotes for productive farming practices.
“We have just gotten a directive from the President to take these drugs off the market and we shall also be travelling around the country providing the right drugs and services to these farmers as well as sensitizing them on the various fake drugs on the market. Farmers should also know that these veterinary drugs and services are free and no one should be asked to pay even a single shilling…” said Ms Kabatsi.
The campaign to fight these bogus veterinary drugs kicked off yesterday in Lyantonde and will continue until all regions are covered, hopefully bringing an end to the sale of these counterfeits as well as putting a control on the market for these products.
This is also not the first time Museveni has personally involved himself with the Ministry of Agriculture and its undertakings; only last year, when the western part of Uganda was unexpectedly hit with the foot and mouth outbreak, he assigned then new Minister Kabatsi with the task of eradicating the deadly disease from the area and Uganda in general.
In less than a month vaccination points were promptly set up and free vaccines efficiently given out to farmers whose animals had been diagnosed and quarantined. Indeed Uganda continues to outperform its neighbors when it comes to containing sudden outbreaks whether it is the Ebola or Anthrax; however there still remain gaps that continue to affect the productivity of farmers but with the introduction of policies and regulations, these areas too, can also be monitored and controlled.