‘Broke’ Agric Ministry turn to Finance Ministry to compensate affected bird flu farmers

The Chairman of the Food and Agriculture Committee of Parliament is appealing to the Finance Ministry to compensate poultry farmers affected by bird flu.

Gabriel Essilfie told members on the floor of Parliament Thursday, the agric ministry is broke and has no contingency funds to take care of this compensation.

The Bird flu was confirmed sometime last month in Ghana with over 33,000 birds destroyed since then.

Joy News’ Parliamentary correspondent Elton John Brobbey reported the Chairman of the Committee as saying over eleven farms have so far been affected and the impact on the farmers is enormous.

Two of those farmers have lost at least ¢800,000, he said.

According to the chairman, the Agric Ministry has not made any budgetary allocation to cater for the needs of the affected farmers and implored the Finance Ministry to assist.

The Deputy Agric Minister responsible for Livestock Hanna Bissiw confirmed that her Ministry is cash-trapped and cannot take care of any compensation to the affected farmers.

She told Parliament when a case of bird flu is discovered on a farm, the farmer would, at least for six months, suspend activities on the firm until after thorough examination has been concluded before he or she can return to business.

She also appealed for the swift intervention of the Finance Ministry to assist the affected farmers.

The MPs quoted Standing Order 170 of Parliament which states that when the committee of Finance is satisfied there is an unforeseen expenditure for which there is no other provision, it shall authorise advances from the contingency funds to address the immediate needs.

But the Speaker of Parliament Edward Doe Adjaho rather referred the matter to the Committee of Food and Agriculture to thoroughly assess the situation and present a report on the financial implication of the virus to the House within a week.

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