NEBBI. West Nile leaders have been urged to formulate by-laws on the issue of stray animals which have become a menace to most farmers in the region.

Speaking during a review meeting on fruit growing in the region on Monday, Mr Dan Acema, an Agroforestry Scientist with NARO Abi-Zardi said the issue of stray animals is a very big problem and it is threatening the fruit project in the region.

“All the local governments in West Nile should come up with by-laws because stray animals are a very big problem which can no longer be ignored,” Acema observed.

He said leaders should also be exemplary and support the fruit project because if it succeeds, it will be the face of West Nile since the project can be the first commodity that the people of the region can sell to other regions.

But Mr Geoffrey Ngiriker, the Mayor of Nebbi municipal council said the issue of stray animals is complex because most of them belong to leaders and their relatives.

“You cannot impound the animals of an LC I chairman or any other leader, obviously they will not act but release the animals without any penalties,” he said.

He called for the need to engage communities on how best they can handle their animals, adding that leaders should be exemplary by first controlling their animals.

Mr Geoffrey Okello Anecho, the vice chairperson Nebbi appealed to politicians to make sure they don’t sabotage the fruit project but own it instead.

He said the district has a production ordinance in place with provisions that stipulate how stray animals should be treated and urged lower local governments to implement it.

At the beginning of this year, autonomous province of Trento in Italy donated shs2.7 billion to farmers in West Nile sub region to help them improve and promote fruit growing.

According to the senior monitoring and evaluation officer-Associazion Centro Aiuti Volontari (ACAV), Mr Nelson Afeku, the shs2.7 billion shillings follows the initiative of the West Nile leaders who lobbied for the funds from the province of Trento in Italy during their visit in 2017 through West Nile Development Association (WENDA).

The fruits that are being grown across the region include; mangoes, cocoa, avacado and apples among others.

Under the arrangement, a fruit factory would be established in the region as the fruits would be bought from the farmers.