Arua-About 39 heifers that were distributed under the UPDF-led Operation Wealth Creation have died.
The district veterinary officer Arua, Willy Nguma, attributes the death of the heifers to negligence by the beneficiaries. Some of the beneficiaries are not trained to handle animals and are mainly crop farmers.
Speaking to West Nile Press Online, Dr Nguma says out of the 77 heifers that have been given out to beneficiaries in Arua, 39 of them have so far died.
He added that 36 of the animals succumbed to tick bites while 2 strangled themselves after been tethered and one was reportedly stolen, all in a spate of 4 to 5 months.
“We warned the beneficiaries of these animals to ensure that they routinely spray them with accaricides, but unfortunately many of them ignored our advice and these animals ended up being bitten by ticks and so they died,” Dr Nguma said.
Operation Wealth creation has received a lot of criticisms from farmers and the district leaders on the methods of its implementation. Two years ago, over 1000 sacks of cassava stalks were dumped after being rejected by the production department because they were substandard.
But government insists that they are registering success since it was transformed from Naads to being headed by the UPDF soldiers.
Dr Willy’s report comes at a point when the district is set to receive another set of animals between January and February 2018 under the OWC program.
He says all those to receive the next set of animals shall be thoroughly verified and their homesteads inspected to ensure that they are capable of looking after the animals before they are given out.
He also encouraged people especially the youth to prepare and show interest in receiving and looking after the animals the district is due to receive and distribute, adding that if looked after well, one can effectively fight poverty in their homes.
Recently several animals including hybrid goats given out to beneficiaries in the district and the region died due to poor care, excessively rainy and cold weather and tick-borne disease.