THE MINISTRY of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has announced that Ghana is now an Avian Influenza-free country.
The ministry has therefore lifted all the quarantine measures and restrictions imposed on the movement of live poultry and poultry products in and out of the Tema and Sunyani municipalities as well as the Keta District of the Volta Region.
Deputy Sector Minister in-charge of Livestock, Hon. Anna Nyamekye made this known at the weekly Meet-The-Press series in Accra yesterday.
However, the ban on the importation of live birds and all poultry products from affected countries, she said, is still in force, stressing, “all security agencies along the country's borders should continue to be vigilant and ensure that live birds and poultry products do not enter the country”.
According to Hon. Nyamekye, since Avian Influenza, also known as Bird Flu, is still present on the globe and in the West African sub-region, poultry farmers should endeavour to continue to ensure maximum bio-security on their farms so as to prevent the entry of the virus onto their farms.
She noted that as part of efforts by the ministry and its related bodies to prevent the recurrence of the virus, MOFA and the various Veterinary Services Directorates would continue to educate the public on the disease as well as start the training of poultry farmers on the importance of bio-security on their farms.
She indicated that the ministry in consultation with the Ghana Poultry Development Board has so far disbursed over ¢1.5 billion as compensation to farmers who had their birds destroyed as a result of the Bird Flu outbreak in May this year.
“As at the time of the resolution of all the cases, 13.371 birds had died whilst a total of 27,356 birds were destroyed as part of our control measures.
“Farmers whose birds had to be destroyed have been paid reasonable compensation at rates agreed upon by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Poultry Development Board,” emphasised the deputy Minister.
Hon. Nyamekye, flanked by officials from the Veterinary Services Department, reminded the general public that though there had been no reported human infections during the outbreaks, they should continue to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water and ensure that all poultry products were well cooked before eating.
It would be recalled that on Wednesday, May 2 this year, Ghana reported its first case of the Avian Influenza virus. The virus was first detected on a small-scale poultry farm on April 24, 2007 within the Tema Municipality.
The disease was later detected on another farm at Asuokwa in the Sunyani Municipality and on a small-scale poultry farm at Aflao in the Ketu District of the Volta Region.
These detections prompted the sector ministry and the Veterinary Services Department to adopt prevention measures including the destruction of affected birds to avoid further spread of the virus.