23.03.2004 Regional News

Pig farmers to be paid one billion cedis compensation

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Kumasi, March 23, GNA- Pig farmers in Ashanti whose animals were slaughtered by the Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) following the attack on their farms by the African swine fever disease are to be paid a total of over one billion cedis as compensation.

Dr Martin Kwasi Antwi, the Regional Veterinary Officer, who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Kumasi, said the swift measures put in place by the ministry in the wake of the outbreak of the disease had paid off.

The Regional Veterinary Officer said when MOFA becomes sufficiently satisfied that the situation has stabilised, it would allow those whose farms were not attacked to sell their pigs to raise money to maintain their farms.

Dr Antwi said even here, there would be designated places where such sold animals would be slaughtered.

He noted that the African swine fever and other contagious deadly diseases that always attack livestock in Ghana spread from its neighbouring countries.

Dr Antwi said if those countries therefore do not show the same seriousness and zeal as done by the government here, efforts at eradicating such disease could fail.

He therefore called on the government to liaise with its counterparts in the sub-region and co-ordinate their strategies in fighting livestock diseases.

Meanwhile, pig farmers who were fortunate to have escaped the attack on their farms but cannot sell their animals because of the existing ban on the movement and slaughtering of pigs have started complaining about the biting effects of the ban on their pockets. One of such farmers, Mr Sylvester Barimah Antwi at Offinso told the GNA at Offinso that the ban had become a major source of frustration to them.

He claimed that he, for instance, spends over one million cedis on feeding alone of the 500 pigs on his farm every week and said because he could not dispose of any of them, he is finding it difficult to raise funds to keep the farm going.

"Putting money into an investment that is bringing in no returns is as frustrating as it is disappointing", he added.

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