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Ban on movement of live birds over bird flu still in force – Agric Ministry

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Poultry2The Ministry of Food and Agriculture says the ban on the transportation of live birds due to the spread of Bird Flu is still in force, and  warns the public to be cautious.

Meanwhile the first batch of 25 farmers who had their poultry farms destroyed due to the outbreak of the Bird Flu would be compensated today November 4, 2015 with a total amount of GH₵ 1,067,355, which includes the cost of 44,144 birds destroyed by the Ghana Veterinary Services (GVS), Dr Hannnah Bissiw, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra.

Dr Bissiw who is the Minister in Charge of Livestock explained that government has however rolled out the process to lift the ban soon, which includes the launch of the Active Surveillance Stage.

She said the Active Surveillance Stage could last for a year: “We are studying the situational reports which would inform the decision to lift the ban.”

“We need to take these measures to make sure that in the next few months before Christmas, the Greater Accra Region is safe from the Bird Flu and the other regions are also safe,” she added.

Government in July this year placed a ban on the movement of birds and other poultry products from Greater Accra, Ashanti, Volta, Western and Central regions, to other parts of the country, due to the presence of Bird Flu.

The measure form part of government’s holistic strategy to contain the Bird Flu disease in the country, Dr Bissiw said.

She said that government was procuring 15 pickup trucks and 100 motorbikes in addition to the six pickup trucks and 30 motorbikes already procured, to support the efforts of the Ghana Veterinary Service (GVS) to police the activities of livestock farmers.

Dr Bissiw said the Diseases of Animals Act 1961 and the Animal Policy were going through various stages of review aimed at strengthening the regulatory framework of the activities of livestock farmers.

She called on poultry farmers to activate security systems on their farms that would guard against future infection and contamination of Bird Flu.

Meanwhile Mr Fredrick Mensah, a poultry farmer in an interview with the GNA appealed to government to lift the ban on poultry movement, noting that the Christmas festive season was fast approaching as patronage of live birds is very high among Ghanaian shoppers during the season.

He said as a personal precaution to prevent the spread of the bird flu virus, he did not allow outsiders to enter his farm nor get close to his hen coop.

In a related development GNA market monitoring observed that poultry sales at the Makola market has picked up tremendously.

Mr James Yaba who deals in Chicken at Makola Market told the GNA that sales had picked up.

The traders at the market noted that the restrictions which were enforced with the support of the police were the best control measures as that helped to contain the spread of the avian flu.

Over 68,000 birds were destroyed in the five affected regions, and some crates of eggs, poultry feed and infected wooden structures on farms were also destroyed in the process.

More than 23,000 birds have died from the disease and 140,000 were destroyed to contain the outbreak.

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