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Poultry Traders Angry With Gov’t   
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Poultry traders in the country have registered their frustration and disappointment at the government of President John Dramani Mahama for doing very little about the outbreak of the bird flu disease which is affecting their businesses.

According to them, the outbreak of the avian influenza has not only affected the patronage of live birds sold at the various poultry markets across the country but also affected businesses of food vendors, cold store operators as well as consumers.

Ghana has been battling an outbreak of the deadly viral disease since May this year which has affected some poultry farms necessitating culling and a ban on the movement of live poultry by the authorities.

Speaking at a news conference in Accra on behalf of poultry traders in Ghana, Mrs. Nana Esi Hoyle, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of Juel Catering Services, said, the outbreak of the disease has had adverse effects on the whole poultry meat supply chain.

According to Mrs. Hoyles, although the ministry of food and agriculture assured the general public that, critical measures were being taken to contain the disease, and urged the public to continue to “freely” consume poultry since poultry and poultry products in the country were still safe for consumption, there was no sensitisation on-going to educate the citizenry.

That situation, she pointed out, has resulted in the low patronage of chicken as the outbreak would collapse businesses unless government puts appropriate measures in place to curb the spread of the disease.

The ministry of food and agriculture reported the outbreak of the H5N1 sub-type in Ghana after samples sent to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reference laboratory in Italy confirmed the bird flu virus.

The ministry has since advised the general public to thoroughly cook poultry products before consuming them.

It has further placed a ban on the movement of poultry and poultry products until it is certain that the disease has been contained.

The sector Minister, Mr. Fiifi Fiavi Kwetey, addressing the media in Accra when the disease was detected in four poultry farms in Accra and Tema, said: “We do not know how much further it may have spread, but we do know the most effective way to fight the virus is through robust collaboration of the public and our veterinary services. The sooner they are notified of a potential instance of avian influenza the sooner they can respond, which gives the virus less of a chance to spread.”

The minister explained that following the preliminary confirmation by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Accra Veterinary Laboratory in late May this year, experts moved to contain the outbreak and mitigate its further spread by isolating identified farms and destruction of all poultry, eggs, feed and other materials on those affected farms.

Mr. Kwetey said his outfit had also requested the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to support Ghana’s surveillance team to which a mission of experts had been dispatched to the country as of June 7 to assist Ghana with technical support on avian influenza response.

On the impact of the bird flu in the country, the minister said the disease represented a serious threat to the poultry sector that had been growing in recent years with domestic production currently accounting for 30 per cent of domestic demand.

And since the minister’s press conference in June 2015, more outbreak of the avian influenza has been reported in Obuasi, Tema and Accra.

Two weeks ago Parliament of Ghana approved 11 million Ghana cedis for the ministry of food and agriculture to control, eradicate and prevent the Avian Influenza outbreak in the country.

Part of that funds, it is understood, would go to compensate farmers whose birds have been affected by the outbreak.
Source: Today

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