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15.03.2006 General News

Avian Flu scare affects sale of chicken in W/R

By GNA

Sekondi, March 15, GNA - The poultry industry in the Western Region is gradually moving towards a gloomy future, following the Avian Influenza scare by the activities of some FM radio stations and people with scanty knowledge about the disease.

Of late, many people have suddenly shifted from the consumption of chicken, beef and mutton to fish as the result of the scare.

Mr Osei Mensah, chairman of the Poultry Farmers Association said, this had worsen the already bad situation that people in the industry faced, as the buying of chicken had almost grounded to a halt at many farms.

Many hotels, restaurants and bush canteens have drastically cut down their demand, because those who patronise these facilities have completely shifted from the eating of chicken to fish, he complained. Mr Mensah made this known at the inauguration of a ten-member Western Regional taskforce on Avian Flu at Sekondi on Tuesday.

"We are really feeling the pinch", he reiterated and advised the media to be circumspect in their reportage on the disease. He said the situation in the supply of eggs was different, because there had not been significant change in supply.

An official of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture said chicken boiled at over 70 degrees Celsius is safe for human consumption.

Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo the Regional Minister said the prerogative to announce the outbreak of the bird flu in any part of the country rested with the Director of Veterinary Services.

He advised the media to take into account the adverse effect of any negative report on the economy and refrain from publishing unsubstantiated reports on the disease.

Among others, the taskforce would keep surveillance on poultry and wild birds and deal with all cases related to the bird flu disease.

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