The Poultry Association of Nigeria Plateau State Chapter said Avian influenza (bird flu) has killed 42,000 birds in 12 farms in in the state between January and February 2017.
The association’s Chairman, John Dasar, who disclosed this on Monday in Jos, said more birds were being depopulated in some farms to prevent further spread of the bird flu.
Dasar attributed the fast spread of the disease to the non-payment of compensation to farmers affected by the disease in 2015 and 2016, thus, leading the frustrated farmers to sell off affected birds.
“Such farmers, out of desperation and frustration, decided to sell their affected birds in the open markets.
“More than 130 poultry farmers were affected by the disease in 2015 and 2016; the birds were destroyed by the Federal Government, but compensations were not paid.”
He said farmers in Plateau were going through a very tough time following the resurgence of the bird flu, especially in the last one week.
The chairman regretted that most farmers do not report the outbreak of the disease in their farms but will prefer to sell their birds to marketers than wait for government compensation that will never come.
“Whenever we get wind of an outbreak, we alert government officials to take immediate action; that is the only option we have.”
He also revealed that the outbreak of the disease had affected the supply of eggs and other poultry products in the markets.
“The supply has gone down and that is affecting the prices because demand is now higher than supply.”
The chairman, however, appealed to affected poultry farmers to be patient as modalities for compensations were being worked out.
He expressed optimism that the Federal Government would adequately compensate affected farmers “at the end of the day”.
“We met with the Minister of Agriculture a month ago and he promised that something will be done in no distant time. He assured me that the compensations will soon be paid,” he said.
Dasar also said that he personally met with PAN national officials three times last week, and was given the assurance that the monies would be paid.
“Two weeks ago, PAN officials also met with Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and he ordered that the payments be processed; so, it is just a matter of time,” he said.
While waiting for the government’s intervention, the chairman appealed to farmers to adopt serious bio-security measures to prevent the flu, and also report any outbreak in their farms promptly.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, in January, disclosed that the disease has reached 26 states of the country including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and has affected over 3.5 million birds.
Also Known as bird flu, avian flu is caused by a type of influenza virus that is hosted by birds, which may also infect several species of mammals. It was first identified in Italy in the early 1900s and is now known to exist worldwide.
A strain of the H5N1-type of avian influenza virus that emerged in 1997 has been identified as the most likely source of a future influenza pandemic.Strains of avian influenza virus may infect various types of animals, including birds, pigs, horses, seals, whales and humans.
However, wild fowl act as natural asymptomatic carriers, spreading it to more susceptible domestic stocks.