Government has announced re-opening of livestock markets across the country. The markets have not be operational since March this year when President Yoweri Museveni announced a lockdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Uganda.
However, Bright Rwamirama the Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (Animal Industry) says continued closure of these markets has adversely affected the livestock farmers and their livelihood is severely threatened.
The ministry has now come up with guidelines which will be followed by farmers as they re-open for business while minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
However, the Minister clarified that districts with any form of animal quarantine will not be allowed to operate until the commissioner animal health officially lifts the quarantine.
As part of the guidelines, livestock markets owners are encouraged to have infrastructure such as a complete and intact perimeter fence with an entrance and exit gate, inspection crush, veterinary office, loading and offloading ramps, latrines/toilets, source of water and hand washing facility in order to abide by the Ministry of health COVID-19 SOPs.
The markets perimeter fence and internal compartments may be made of wood or metallic fence materials, the entrance and exit gates must be controllable among other guidelines.
The markets may operate weekly, or once or twice a month to allow cleaning and disinfection to take place before the next market, business will run from 7am to 3pm each market day to allow animal transporters not to move at night.
Market days must be planned and supervised by a District Veterinary Officer or his/her assignees. Only animal buyers, sellers, owners, drivers animal handlers, veterinary inspectors and market dues collectors are allowed in the livestock market premises, while animal sellers shall be allocated spaces at least 2 meters from eachother.