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06.05.2007 General News

Dormaa poultry farmers not deterred by bird flu


Dormaa-Ahenkro, the hub of the poultry industry in Ghana last Wednesday received reports of the appearance of the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in Tema with relative calm.

The GNA says its investigations revealed that poultry farmers and dealers in poultry products in the Dormaa District were going about their businesses with little or no sign of anxiety.

Dr. Agyemang Kontor, the Dormaa District Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), attributed the calmness to the sustained public education by his outfit, the district assembly and identifiable groups since the bird flu scare last year.

"The intensity of the message, coupled with pragmatic steps taken by the government including an indefinite ban on the importation of poultry products contributed immensely to the prevention process until the Tema incident", he said.

Dr. Kontor said his office, the district assembly and a special task force monitored the strict compliance to the ban to ensure that neither the bird flu found its way into the district or public confidence in poultry products waned.

He said following the Tema incident, the district's agricultural officers had been ordered to disengage from all other activities and concentrate on a 24-hour surveillance on all poultry and wild birds in the district.

Dr. Kontor appealed to the public not to hesitate in reporting to the veterinary department any dead bird in the community or bush and appealed to the two poultry farmers' associations in the district to advise their members not to engage in practices that had the potential to disrupt the prevention process.

Mr. Adama Musa, the National Best Poultry farmer, said the success of the fight against the flu depended largely on the will of the operators in the industry.

"The public, especially traders, will do the industry a lot of service if they, as a matter of necessity, halt the transportation and sale or use of egg crates that can be a source of the spread of the virus and other contagious diseases", he added.

Mr Musa appealed to his colleagues to minimize inter-farm visits and to follow systematically the concept of bio-security both at their farm gates and within the farms.

Mr. Chou-en-Lai Paul Ankomah, chairman of the special task force, assured stakeholders that the committee would discharge its duties without fear or favour.

"The bird flu issue is a national concern with numerous rippling effects on the economy and we shall not relent in efforts to uncover any recalcitrant group or individual in order to keep the flu at bay", Mr. Ankomah said.

Source: GNA