By Cecil Mensah
The Ministry of Foods and Agriculture (MOFA), has with immediate effect directed that the hawking and transportation of live birds in the country should be halted to avoid the further spread of the Avian Influenza disease popularly known as Bird Flu.
According to the Ministry, the decision to direct that live birds should not be hawked and transported, was to halt the spread of the disease in the country.
The Ministry, said the hawking, as well as cross boarder transportation of lives birds, has a high potential of spreading the disease in the country.
The Ministry, gave this directive at a meeting of stakeholders in the poultry industry in Accra.
The stakeholders included poultry farmers, the media, the Academia from the school of veterinary medicine, University of Ghana, live bird dealers, retired veterinary Doctors as well as egg sellers.
The objectives of the stakeholders meeting was to provide an update on the outbreaks of the Avian Influenza, provide an update on the control and containment measures carried out so far.
And lastly, to provide a forum for discussions on how best to further stop the spread of the disease in the Greater Accra Region.
Speaking at the meeting, Madam Hannah Bisiw, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in Charge of Livestock, said since the outbreak of the disease in May last year,
75,976 birds have been stamped out in accordance with the World Organization for Animal Health.
She said, 26, 434 affected birds died naturally from the disease, according to her, it is not only live birds and affected feed, egg paper crates, feed troughs and others poultry equipment that were also destroyed to control the disease.
She said Ghana experienced the outbreak of the disease after countries like Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Niger recorded outbreaks in the West African sub-region.
She explained that since the outbreak, the government of Ghana together with its development partners such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Bank among others has provided the needed financial and technical support for the control and containment of the disease.
She took the opportunity to appeal to Vets in private practice to report to the Veterinary Services Directorate any suspected case of dead birds, particularly having symptoms of Newcastle disease.
She further urged commercial poultry farmers to restrict non-farm workers from entering their farms and report to the authorities sick and dead poultry.
She noted that since November 2015, the Government of Ghana has paid compensation to 25 affected poultry farmers with an amount of GHS 1,067,355 representing 90 percent of the total current market value of live birds that were destroyed as a result of the stamping out exercise by the Ministry.
She added that the payment of compensation has encouraged farmers to report outbreaks on time to ensure timely control measures are put in place.
In a welcome address, Mr. Augustus Aryeetey, Acting Director of the Veterinary Services Department (VSD) said since the outbreak was reported in May last year in the
Greater Accra Region there has been other outbreaks too.
Giving a breakdown of the outbreaks situation, he said so far there have been 36 outbreaks in the country, two from the Volta Region, 32 from the Greater Accra region, one from the Western Region, one from the Central Region and one from the Ashanti Region.
He added that since the outbreakno human case has been recorded in the affected areas of the outbreak.