The Government will ensure that farmers who have been affected by the outbreak of the bird flu- Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) receive fair compensations.
Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, reiterated that the Government had approved compensation payment to farmers affected by the HPAI as a component of the total approved budget of nearly GHC44 million.
“At this stage, let me assure the House that the exercise will be carried out transparently to ensure justice for all,” Dr Afriyie Akoto stated on the floor of Parliament in his response to a question by Mr Paul Apreku Twum-Barimah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Dormaa East.
The MP wanted to know from the Minister, what the Ministry was doing to assist poultry farmers who had been severely affected by the recent outbreak of the bird flu and what measures were being put in place to prevent the recurrence of this adversity?
With regards to the regional breakdown of the spread of the disease in the country, Dr Afriyie Akoto said information available to him on record indicated that a total of 10 regions out of 16 had so far recorded cases of HPAI
“In all, 703,966 birds’ mortality had been recorded in the affected regions. Of the said number, 555,227 birds had to be destroyed as part of containment measures by the Ministry, the remaining 143,406 deaths were as a result of HPAI infection,” he said.
The Minister said so far, the number of affected farms in the country was 159.
He said the Ministry’s action plan approved by Cabinet to stop the spread of the disease and address the institutional weaknesses of the Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD) included activities such as the recruitment of about 1,100 veterinary professionals for deployment throughout the country.
Dr Afriyie Akoto said financial clearance to that effect had already been secured to cover initial recruitment of 550 veterinary professionals; adding that the remaining 550 would be engaged within the period of two years to strengthen the institutional human resource capacity of the VSD.
“This has been lacking well before the Government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assumed office in 2017,” he said.
He said procurement of vehicles, motorbikes, chemicals and other logistics had been approved by the cabinet to revamp the VSD for enhanced operations manifested by effective surveillance, early detection, rapid response and control of animal diseases.
Others are the intensification of farm visits to ensure farm security, depopulation and disinfection to eliminate any threat to public health.
He said all these activities would be preceded by the rollout of a comprehensive sensitization programme nationwide by the end of the first week of February 2022.
He said an implementation committee to coordinate the sensitization programme and oversee the general containment of the HPAI was set to be inaugurated on Friday, 27th of January.
“Mr Speaker, to forestall the frequent recurrence of the outbreak of the HPAI and other transborder and animal diseases, Government has finalized the Animal Health Bill for consideration of this House,” he said.
Dr Afriyie Akoto said the passage of the Bill would ensure effective regulation of livestock and poultry industries.
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