Poultry farmers want compensation for destruction of Bird Flu infected farms

The Ghana National Poultry Farmers Association is asking government to compensate farmers whose birds have been destroyed as part of measures to contain the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) scare.

They want the Ministry of Agriculture to set up a fund to compensate farmers whose birds will be killed when outbreaks are detected on their farms.

The association fears the absence of such a package will discourage farmers from reporting suspicious symptoms of the disease to health officials.

A total of about ¢1.5 billion [¢1.5million in new currency] was paid as compensation to farmers by the government in 2007 when about 13, 371 birds were reported dead as a result of the outbreak. About 27,356 birds were destroyed by the veterinary services as part of the control measures.

The Nogouchi Memorial Institute has confirmed tests conducted on samples from farms in Achimota and Tema have tested positive for the disease. The samples have been flown to Italy for further tests. Already, over 20,000 birds have been destroyed and the farms on which they were being reared have been closed down.

At a meeting in Accra on Thursday, the association’s executives asked government to announce a package for farmers as was the case during the 2007 outbreak of the disease.

“If farmers who are spending so much are not aware that if he loses his birds, an organisation will give a package, surely we will keep information to ourselves, we will try to contain it ourselves, and that will worsen the spread, and that will make the situation bad for any organisation to contain,” Chairman of the association’s Finance Committee, Brobbey Kyei told Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo.

“If we could be told that if you have a bird of laying stage to about 30 weeks, you will be given let’s say five cedis, three cedis, whatever figure government can come out with…that will not let you hide the information if you have it,” he added.

Meanwhile, President of the association, Victor Oppong Adjei is asking the public not to panic over the latest development, but continue to enjoy their chicken.

“I want to assure the public that what has happened is not scary…the virus is afraid of heat. So if you boil your chicken very well, you will not have any problem,” he told Gakpo.

The association says it is educating farmers on strict hygienic measures that need to be implemented on farms so their poultry are not affected by the disease.

Ghana experienced an outbreak of bird flu in 2007 after infected birds were found on farms in Tema and Sunyani municipalities and the Ketu district.

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