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27.02.2006 Regional News

Poultry farmers deny infection of bird flu

Poultry farmers deny infection of bird flu

Dormaa-Ahenkro (B/A) Feb. 27, GNA - The Dormaa Poultry Farmers and Marketers Association has described as false and untenable, recent media speculations that poultry farms in Dormaa district are infected by the bird flu.

The Association stressed that the country was yet to detect the occurrence of the disease in any part, including the Dormaa district. In a five-point communiqu=E9 signed by Mr. Kwabena Asamoah Asare, Chairman, the association described the allegations as "unpatriotic and insensitive to chaos", saying the reports were a figment of the imagination of the sources.

The communiqu=E9 was in reaction to interviews in a section of the media by "a presumably self-styled veterinary expert" who hopped from one radio station to another with the news that the bird flu has shown its ugly head in parts of the nation, including Dormaa district, which has 200 poultry farmers and 1,500 employees. The Association said the media reports had caused a 50 percent reduction in the purchase of eggs in Accra, Kumasi and other market centres.

The communiqu=E9 expressed shock at the calculated attempt to deprive poultry farmers and their dependents of their daily bread when in fact, adding, "it is groundless for anybody to cry wolf at this stage concerning the bird flu".

The Association assured the consuming public that products from poultry farms in Dormaa district remained safe and wholesome and were devoid of any contamination.

While calling on veterinary experts to endeavour to strike the necessary balance between facts and assumptions in their encounters with the press, the Association also appealed to media practitioners to beware of adventurers who wanted to exploit them for the achievement of their personal agenda.

In a related event, the Dormaa district office of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has met with members of the Poultry Farmers Association to brief them on the symptoms of the bird influenza and steps being taken by government to confront it if it should surface in any part of the country.

The Dormaa district director of the Ministry, Dr. Agyemang Atuahene Kontor took the farmers through the symptoms of the flu and urged workers on the farms to report any such symptoms early enough for appropriate action to be expedited on it.

Dr. Kontor announced that government had set aside 3.5 billion cedis to pay compensation to farmers whose poultry might be destroyed in the wake of an outbreak.

He said the Ministry and the poultry farmers association would soon embark on a door-to-door public education on the symptoms of the flu to ensure that even minors in the district would be capable of reporting the death of birds under bizarre circumstances.

Dr. Kontor said Unit Committee members were also being roped into the campaign to lead the people in the carcass detection exercise.