Livestock farmers in Eastern Province have accused veterinary officers of not doing a proper job. The disaffection surfaced during a meeting of local leaders, farmers and veterinary officers in Rwamagana district.
Farmer Geoffrey Mushaija of Nyagatare district said that poor veterinary services have demoralized farmers, to the extent that a number of them have abandoned their farms.
“It is a sad reality that our veterinary officers are doing us a great disservice. Artificial insemination programs have failed...rural farmers are requested to pay dearly for the services. Yet veterinary officers don’t even care to make a follow up to ascertain if it works,” Mushaija said.
He remarked that for cows to be treated or inseminated, veterinary officers have to be paid huge amounts of money.
Dr. Samson Ntegibizaza of Rwanda Animal Resource Development Authority (RARDA) acknowledged problems between farmers and veterinary officers.
“It is true that our veterinary officers in some sectors have not been doing well...there is need to restructure and possibly give them refresher courses,” he said.
He added: “The issue of ethics will be handled”.
At the same meeting Kayonza district veterinary officer Jacquiline Mutesi caused a stir, when she revealed that there is an outbreak of anthrax disease that has not been given enough attention.
She said: “I don’t know what transpires sometimes amongst our ranks. There is anthrax in Kayonza district and cows have started dying, but I don’t see quick intervention. So, some of us must be doing something that is not quite right.”
Justin Zimurinda, RARDA Coordinator in Eastern Province however, plays down the fear of anthrax. He said that the disease only affects unvaccinated cows.
“Vaccination against Anthrax is supposed to be annual thing, so the affected cows were not immunized. Farmers must be aware of that,” he promised.
Stakeholders plan to have a similar meeting including top ministry officials in a fortnight.