The Ghana National Poultry Farmers Association (GNPFA) has said in spite of the Avian influenza (bird flu) recorded in the country it is ready to meet 40 per cent demand of birds during Christmas.
“The Ministry of Food and Agriculture inaugurated a committee made up of stakeholders in the industry to ensure that poultry farmers in the country meet a 40 per cent demand in the market and we are ready to meet that target in spite of the challenges the sector is facing” the Chairman of the GNPFA, Mr Victor Opong Adjei, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in Accra.
The committee’s responsibility among others is to ensure that importers stick to 60 per cent importation of chicken products coming into the country in order to avoid shortage of meat.
Media reports on bird flu
He debunked media reports that there was inadequate sensitisation on the Avian influenza (bird flu) and therefore a potential epidemic might break out.
“We are entirely surprised about the report because sensitisation about the disease started several months before the country even recorded its first case” he added.
He was responding to media reports that some poultry farmers in the country have raised red flags about a potential bird flu epidemic because of inadequate education on the disease.
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He, therefore, appealed to the media to be very circumspect in their reportage as any negative comment could trigger the collapse of the ailing sector.
Fortune dwindle at Id-ul-Fitr
He admitted that the announcement made by the Veterinary Services Department prior to Id-ul-Fitr affected the industry negatively.
“This kind of utterance affects us in so many ways and we fear this might collapse the industry” he added.
Responding to the restriction on the movement of birds in the country, he said presently there was no ban and that the directive applied only to the Greater Accra Region, adding that the last case recorded was at Obuasi three months ago therefore the situation is under control.
He said the Association would meet the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the third week of August to negotiate on the compensation packages for the farmers whose birds were killed as a result of the outbreak.
Effect of disease
Figures from the Parliamentary Select Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs in July indicated that the disease had then affected 11 poultry farms in the Greater Accra, Volta and Ashanti regions.
So far, the nation has lost GH¢800,000 due to the destruction of 33,143 birds, 1,058 crates of eggs and 37 bags of feed in the three affected regions.
The Veterinary Services Department first banned the importation of poultry and poultry products from Burkina Faso in April this year as a counter measure against the outbreak of bird flu in Ghana, following an outbreak of the deadly disease in that country.
The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), in May this year, confirmed the outbreak of bird flu in Accra.
Five out of six sample tests conducted by the institute proved positive for the bird flu virus.
According to the institute, the samples were received from two farms located at Achimota and Tema on May 2015.
On June, MoFA confirmed that some birds in the Greater Accra Region had been infected by bird flu.
According to the ministry, the test results of samples of reported Avian flu cases taken to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Laboratory in Padova, Italy, proved positive.
This is not the first time bird flu is giving health and veterinary authorities a headache in Ghana.
The country recorded its first bird flu on May 2, 2007. The virus was first detected on a small-scale poultry farm within the Tema municipality on April 24, 2007.
By September that year, MoFA, in consultation with the Ghana Poultry Development Board, had disbursed over 1.5 billion old cedis as compensation to farmers who had their birds destroyed as a result of the disease. — GB