13.03.2006 Regional News

Committee on Avian influenza inaugurated in C/R

13.03.2006 LISTEN

Cape Coast, March 13, GNA - The Central Regional Minister, Mr Isaac Edumadze, on Monday, echoed concerns about the stigmatisation of the poultry industry in the country due to the outbreak of the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in some parts of Africa. He said if care was not taken, the poultry industry would soon be wiped out, and appealed to the public to continue to patronize local poultry products and "avoid unnecessary panic", since the disease had not reached the country.

Mr Edumadze, expressed these concerns, when he inaugurated a seven-member 'regional emergency preparedness' team under his chairmanship at Cape Coast, to enhance awareness of the causes and effects of the diseases, which has so far been detected in Nigeria, Egypt, Niger and Cameroon. He stressed that every necessary measures was being taken to ensure that the disease never got into the country, with the commitment of 2.5 billion cedis towards awareness and tasked the committee to help intensify the campaign.. Mr. Edumadze noted that it posed serious economic and health risks and could be a threat to the poultry industry in the region which has more than 250 small, medium and large scale farmers with over one million birds and entreated the team to be committed and to coordinate efforts being made at the district levels in the terms of awareness creation and surveillance of the disease He also echoed calls on the general public to report any sudden and unexplained deaths in both domestic and wild birds to the nearest office of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Mr Kwaku Amoo-Baffoe, regional director of agriculture, on behalf of the committee, gave the assurance that it would perform to expectation and announced that workshops are already being held for agricultural officers in the districts. He said education on the disease would be extended to churches, mosques, market places and schools and would not only be targeting poultry farmers. Other members of the committee are officials from the Veterinary Service, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Ministry of Health, Information Services Department, and the Poultry Farmers Association.

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