Rakai, Uganda – Livestock farmers in Kyalulangira Sub-county, Rakai District, have resorted to use of Dudu Guard, a local pesticide, to fight ticks. Dudu Guard is used to kill pests such as banana weevils and nematodes.
Mr Robert Kanyete, the chairperson of Nyekundire Farmers’ Association, on Wednesday said they opted for Dudu Guard after all types of acaricides proved ineffective.
Mr Kanyete said the sub-county loses between 20 to 30 calves and about 30 cattle per month to East Coast Fever caused by ticks.
“One of our colleagues was the first to apply Dudu Guard after recording numerous deaths of heifers on his ranch. When he registered success he alerted other farmers who started using it,” he said.
Mr Benon Mwebaze, another livestock farmer, said ever since they started spraying using Dudu Guard, they have registered better results.
“Government has not done much in fighting East Coast Fever or providing an effective acaricide. For many years, farmers have used try and error methods to save dying animals,” he said.
Mr Mwebaze added: “It is not only us who are using Dudu Guard, farmers in Isingiro District and neigbouring Tanzania have followed suit.”
Mr Odan Kaima, a local trader dealing in acaricides, said because farmers have resorted to using Dudu Guard, some small traders have since left the business as they no longer get customers.
“Some of the drugs have expired on shelves and this has threatened our businesses,” he said.
However, Dr Godfrey Kiwanuka Kimbugwe, the Masaka District veterinary officer, faults farmers for using Dudu Guard warning that after some time the ticks will become resistant to it.
“Acaricides are manufactured specifically for livestock while pesticides are for crops, so anybody using one of the above against the set specifications is doing a regrettable mistake,” he said.
He advised farmers to seek technical advice from veterinary doctors before using any concoctions.
Dr Kimbugwe asked government to restrict selling of livestock drugs to only qualified veterinary doctors blaming the continuous problems with ineffective acaricides to commercialisation of the veterinary services in the country.
In December 2017 , livestock farmers in Sembabule District opted for bat poison claiming that recommended acaricides were no longer killing ticks. Livestock farmers in Rakai District have in the last five years been battling acaricide resistant ticks which have caused East coast fever, claiming droves of animals.