The government is to spend about GH₵14million as compensation to poultry farmers whose farms have been affected by the Avian Influenza (bird flu), the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has announced.
This forms part of the GH₵44million emergency budget by the government to combat the disease which has affected 10 out of the 16 regions in the country so far.
Apart from paying the compensation, about 550 professionals are to be recruited to all veterinary directorate in the country.
In addition, the government would procure a number of logistics, including vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and medicines, as part of measures to strengthen the capacity to protect the country’s livestock and poultry farms.
Addressing the media in Accra on Wednesday, the Minister said in October last year, the government took steps to contain the bird flu in the country.
Dr Akoto indicated that despite the outbreak of the disease in the country, poultry products still remained wholesome due to the measures put in place to ensure those affected do not get into the market.
So far, more than 703,966 poultry had been destroyed by the disease across the country.
He explained that the action plan for combating the flu includes creation of public awareness on the disease, engagement with key stakeholders and stamping out decontamination, procurement of disposal materials and other logistics, as well as payment of compensation to affected farmers.
Dr Akoto noted that the intervention of the government was imperative, given the veterinary services strategic mandate of contributing to public health and the development of livestock and poultry industry in the country.
He said the frequent outbreak of trans-boundary animal diseases such as the bird flu, foot and mouth disease, the African swine fever, among others, threatened government’s agenda of attaining self-sufficiency in meat production by 2025 as envisioned under the planting for food and jobs agenda.
He said due to the rapid spread of the disease, the current update was that the Bono, Upper East and Eastern regions were the latest to record bird flu.
Similarly, some of the already affected regions continued to record increase in their cases.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL