FG votes N600 million to compensate owners of bird flu-ravaged farms
So far, about 300 farmers have been identified to have been affected in 18 states of the federation, where the disease has manifested.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, made these known at a function at Tahir Guest Palace Hotel, Kano, yesterday during a “Training-of-Trainers on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Workshop” organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Federal Government.
Adesina, who was represented by a director in the ministry, Dr. AbdulGaniu Abubakar, further stated that 255 farms have so far been detected to have been affected by the disease.
“One million birds have been depopulated. Our record shows us that out of the 255 farms that were affected, Kano has the largest share, among the 18 states, with 158 farms affected”, he revealed.
As a result, he urged the Kano State Government to be up and doing in combating the disease. “We directed our staff at the ministry to work hand in hand with the Kano state government in controlling the menace,” the minister’s representative said.
According to him, the distribution of the disease in Kano was more than 50 per cent evident in 19 local governments. “That is why we are calling on all stakeholders at all levels to help in curbing the problem. We need to have enough manpower in the fight against the disease that is part of the reasons we are organizing this programme today. With the harmattan season now the spread of the disease is alarming,” he warned.
Earlier in his speech, the representative of USAID, Dr. Harvey Schartup, stated that “the bird flu outbreak in Nigeria and its effect on the health of Nigerians, the economy and the livelihood of farmers are the focus of a series four-day workshops that began in Kano.
“Over 400 participants from the federal ministries of agriculture and health and the poultry sector are being trained in the control of avian influenza. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) supported the workshops.”
Schartup disclosed that the disease is a viral one largely infecting birds, whereas humans are rarely infected. “In 2007, there was one human case in Nigeria. However, there is no known human case so far in the current outbreak. Globally, the majority of human cases of infection have been associated with contact with infected live or dead poultry. Controlling the disease in poultry is the first step in decreasing risks to humans,” he stated.
A representative of the Kano State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Shehu Bawa (director of Vet Services), stated that when the disease broke out in 2006, the state government thought it was milder than what is happening now.