Security agencies in the Brong-Ahafo Region have been called upon to help the bird flu monitoring teams check smugglers and importers of poultry products from La Cote d'Ivoire.
The smugglers are said to be outwitting the monitoring teams who lack the logistics to effectively enforce the ban on the importation of poultry products from that country.
At a press briefing here organized by the National Task Force on the bird flu in collaboration with United States International Development Agency (USAID), the Chairman of the Dormaa District Poultry Farmers Association, Kwabena Asamoah Asare disclosed that most of the culprits are poultry farmers in Dormaa who have resorted to the smuggling of eggs into Ghana on a large scale.
He said that the smugglers were not likely to give up their diabolical trade, and appealed to the security agencies to lend their support to the task force in the monitoring operations.
Last Tuesday, about 1,500 crates of smuggled eggs were seized and destroyed by a task force set up by the Dormaa District Assembly to monitor the importation of poultry products from neighbouring countries.
The eggs were seized and destroyed not because they were infected by the bird flu virus but because they were smuggled in defiance of the ban against all poultry products from that country.
The increase in the smuggling of eggs on a large scale has been attributed to the shortage of eggs in the region due to the hasty sale of birds by the farmers upon hearing of the bird flu outbreak in La Cote d'Ivoire.
Consumption of poultry products has decreased considerably since news of the avian influenza reached Ghana, and the briefing was to enable the media to educate the public that it is still safe to consume poultry products, especially those produced locally.
Contributing, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, asked all the district assemblies in the region to form task forces to monitor the influx of poultry products.
He said the government is determined to save the poultry industry from collapse and ensure its sustained growth, stressing that all measures have been taken to prevent the disease from surfacing in the country.
He observed that the disease had impacted negatively on the industry in the country but hoped that it would pick up again if the media allay the fears of consumers.
Dr. Mathias Kojo Ayensu, Brong-Ahafo Regional Veterinary Officer, said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and other stakeholders had taken several measures to prevent an outbreak of the disease in the country.