Effect of foot and mouth disease in cattle on household income in selected agro-pastoral and pastoral areas of Uganda
Okurut, Anna Rose Ademun
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Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is an endemic livestock disease that occurs in frequent outbreaks with serious consequences to the cattle famers’ in Uganda. This study determined the effect of FMD in cattle on household incomes in four districts in Uganda to represent two agro-ecological zones: the agro-pastoral (Katakwi, Kumi and Bukedea districts) and pastoral (Kiruhura district). Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies were conducted by carrying out an initial reconnaissance survey, then participatory rural appraisal methods and check lists for farmers, traders and local government officials during the 3 month cross–sectional studies. The one year long longitudinal studies involved use of specific questionnaires to collect data on characteristics of the cattle and crop farming systems, losses caused by FMD in cattle, the cattle enterprise, the crop enterprise, household income, local government revenue attributable to FMD quarantine restrictions and to the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) officials. Data was analyzed using statistical, gross margin (GM) and cost-benefit analyses. The study found that the contribution of cattle farming to household incomes was 60% to 90% in the study areas. Cattle contributed 90%, 82%, 62% and 59% of the household income in Kiruhura, Kumi, Katakwi and Bukedea, respectively, indicating and improvement in cattle contribution to the household income in the Teso region. Milk output and live cattle sales were the major sources of output from cattle enterprises. In general, the gross margin of the crop enterprise was less than 40% of the cattle enterprise in the agropastoral areas, and pastoral areas registered losses in the crop enterprise. Foot-and-mouth disease was a major cattle disease constraint in all districts. There was poor annual national herd vaccination coverage of less than 20% for four years in a row, 2008 to 2011. The financial loss caused by FMD outbreaks to individual household annually was between USD90 to USD400 in the eastern region agro-pastoral areas. Over 50% of these losses were due to losses in draught power in the communities that depend on ox ploughing for tilling their land. Cattle income was mainly used for school fees; 43% in Katakwi, 22% in Kiruhura, 21% in Kumi and 18% in Bukedea, but also a large portion for human nutrition (20%) and medical bills (20%) in Kiruhura. The effect of FMD in cattle on social amenities was high in Katakwi (56%) and Bukedea (55%) and very low in Kiruhura (0.01%) and Kumi (8%). In Kiruhura, livestock sales continued during quarantines hence the very low effect. Meanwhile, Katakwi, Kumi and Bukedea local governments were most affected by FMD quarantine and lost 66% to 88% of cattle market revenue because quarantine regulations were strictly followed by the farmers and cattle traders. If the farmers vaccinated their herds annually, there would be on average households saving of USD284 in Katakwi which would be 2.2 times more than the cattle enterprise GM; USD76 in Kiruhura, USD431 in Kumi and USD451 in Bukedea that would be was 0.4, 2.4 and 3.9 times, respectively, of the cattle enterprise GM. The savings would be made from not expending in treatment, and removal of deaths, weight loss, abortions, milk losses, traction losses, crop production losses and salvage losses attributable to FMD, by vaccinating the cattle at a cost (vaccine and delivery costs inclusive) of USD2.64 per head. The benefit of vaccination per head of cattle was more than ten times the cost of vaccination. FMD outbreaks therefore cost the households more than what would have been earned by the cattle enterprise, implying that the control of FMD outbreaks was subsidized by funds from other sources of income like salaries and wages and worsened the livelihood of farming households.