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Government, through the ministry of food and agriculture, yesterday disbursed checks to the tune of Gh ¢1,067,355 to 25 farmers across the country whose farms were affected by the outbreak of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (Bird Flu).

The compensation, according to FiiFi Kwetey- Hon. Minister for food and Agricultural, is the only surest way to encourage early reporting by affected farmers in a bid to help the ministry control the disease.

He indicated that the compensation is in batches and that the first batch were given to poultry farmers whose birds, feeds and eggs were destroyed by veterinary staff in order to contain the disease from spreading from an affected farm to other farms.

Adding that “the ministry have adopted a simple formula for payment of compensation based on the market value of live birds, eggs and feeds”, based on that the ministry paid 90% of the current market value of poultry, poultry products and feeds to the affected farmers.

The minister further revealed that the number of birds of various species and ages destroyed belonging to the 25 farmers were 44,144 which summed up to the tune of Gh 1,067,355 paid to the affected poultry farmers as compensation to help control the disease.

“…the payment of compensation is a step to invest the funds back into poultry production. On Farms that were affected, some sentinel birds will be on the farms to assure the farmers that the farm is free from the disease and the virus and that farmers can start production again”, the minister indicated.

Hon. FiiFi Kwetey also revealed that, to be able to effectively control the disease, the ministry have issued out press release on bird flu; conducted three zonal workshops on bird flu in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale; organized a workshop for security agencies; and have also met with the live bird dealers and educated them on the disease.

Speaking with The Republic newspaper, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Hannah Bissiw, debunked the wrong notion circulating that Ghanaian poultry products are unwholesome; stating to the effect that “ the safest bird to consume currently is the Ghanaian chicken and not the imported ones”.

She explained further that “ no bird flu infected chicken can last or survive on the market” and for that simple reason Ghanaians can freely patronized and consume their chicken; clarifying that the ban on imported poultry products is still in force because one cannot determine whether an imported chicken is affected with the flu or not.

“We have actually lifted the ban on the restricted movement of birds from Greater Accra. We are looking on, should there be any outbreak anywhere we are going to do the same so that it does not spread as it did in Greater Accra,” she said.

The disease led to the destruction of Over 68,000 birds in the five affected regions. 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 have been destroyed to contain the outbreak over two months ago.

Source: The Republic

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