The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Livestock, Dr Hannah Louisa Bisiw, has asked dealers in livestock to obtain movement permit from the Veterinary Services Directorate of the ministry before transporting livestock to the market centres.
She said the move was to ensure that birds that were brought to the markets met safety standards, especially as Christmas drew closer.
"I will entreat all dealers in livestock to ensure that proper hygiene is put in place at where the birds are slaughtered and dressed for consumers because we cannot gamble with the lives of the public", she stated.
This was contained in a speech read on behalf of Dr Bisiw at the national launch of the United Live Birds Sellers Association (ULBSA) in Accra last Sunday.
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The event, which brought together livestock dealers across the country, was also used to introduce a nine-member executive board for the association.
Dr Bisiw further urged them to adhere to safety standards by putting mechanisms in place to ensure the thorough cleaning and disinfection of cages and points of slaughter .
In that regard, she called for effective collaboration between dealers in live stock and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to ensure best practices in the sector.
Dr Bisiw said that officers from the Veterinary Department of MoFA would begin routine monitoring and supervision of operations by stakeholders in the livestock value chain system.
For his part, the Deputy Director of Veterinary Services at MOFA, Dr Anthony Akunzule, said dealers who failed to comply with the directive to get movement permit would be sanctioned.
He urged the new board of the ULBSA to educate its members to adhere to measures put up to ensure that the sector thrived.
The Chairman of the board, Mr Daniel Apana, said one key challenge the association faced was the influx of imported chicken onto the local market, adding that "many people think it is less costly, but the fact is that the live birds we have locally are of superior value".
He called on the MoFA and the government to support the dealers with modern machines and facilities for dressing of birds in order to facilitate their trade.