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Traders fight gov’t over bird flu

Some traders who deal in poultry products have expressed concern about the government’s lackadaisical approach in containing the recent outbreak of Bird Flu which is adversely affecting their business.

The traders explained that the outbreak of the bird flu had negatively affected the activities of food vendors, cold store operators and consumers.

Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Juel Catering Services, Nana Esi Hoyles said although the Ministry had allayed the fears of members of the public by assuring them that critical steps were being taken to contain the disease, there was no education campaign to educate the citizenry about the disease.

She said the Ministry had urged members of the public to continue to freely consume poultry products because those in the country were still safe for consumption.

The CEO added that the lack of education on the outbreak of the disease had resulted in the low patronage of chicken.

Mrs Hoyles averred that the outbreak of Bird flu would collapse their businesses if government does not put proper measures in place to contain the situation.

Workers at Partners May Hotel confirmed that many customers have stopped buying chicken because of Bird flu.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has stated that the members of the public should cook the poultry products well before consumption.

It however added that there was a ban on the movement of poultry and poultry products until the authorities could be certain that the virus had been contained after samples sent to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reference laboratory in Italy affirmed the outbreak of disease in the country.

Fiifi Kwetey, Minister of Food and Agriculture, while addressing the media in Accra after the disease was detected in four poultry farms in Accra and Tema said, “We do not know how much further it may have spread, but we do know the most effective way to fight the virus is through robust collaboration of the public and our veterinary services. The sooner they are notified of a potential instance of avian influenza the sooner they can respond, which gives the virus less of a chance to spread.”

The Minister explained that following the preliminary confirmation by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Accra Veterinary Laboratory in late May this year, experts moved to contain the outbreak and mitigate its further spread by isolating identified farms and destroying all poultry, eggs, feed and other materials on the affected farms.

Mr Kwetey said the Ministry also requested the assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to support Ghana’s surveillance team.

Experts, according to him, were deployed to the country on June 7 to assist Ghana.

Source: dailyguideghana.com

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