The Nigerian Online Newspaper

FG warns farmers against vaccination of birds with flu

The Federal Government has warned poultry farmers against vaccination of birds infected by avian influenza, saying it may worsen situation of the disease currently in some states of the country.
Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, gave the warning at a National Consultative meeting with state Commissioners for Agriculture in Abuja on Tuesday.
The minister, who said there were no current vaccines for the cure of the disease, advised that sensitisation and control were the solutions to tackle the outbreak of the disease for now.
He said the government had distributed large quantities of disease containment materials to the 36 states of the federation to reduce the spread of the disease in the country.
The minister listed some of the distributed materials to include disinfectants, plastic transport crates, sprayers, syringes and needles, sample bottles and swaps among others.
Ogbeh expressed regret on negligence by poultry farmers to comply with farm quarantine measures and movement restrictions, as the first line of action in the containment of the disease.
According to him, the restriction measures are movement of infected poultry products among states.
He said that some poultry farmers violated bio-security measures, which usually led to rapid spread of the disease to other states.
The minister, who disclosed that the outbreak of bird flu virus known as H5N8 had been reported in Kano State, urged other state Commissioners for Agriculture to take precautionary measures to check the spread.
Ogbeh said: “Bird flu disease is trans-boundary in nature and also trade limiting.
“Some of our neighbouring countries like Benin Republic and others have proposed ban on our poultry and poultry products.
“We acknowledge our inability to act promptly in the past to be ahead of the disease and to complete payment of compensation to affected farmers.’’
Dr. Gideon Mshelbwala, the Director, Veterinary and Pest Control Services in the ministry, said many poultry farmers had gone out of business and youths out of jobs as a result of the outbreak of the disease.
Mshelbwala said the essence of the meeting was to deliberate on possible ways to contain the disease since the vaccines were not currently available.
Dr. Nasiru Yusuf, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Kano State, assured the government’s commitment to ensure control of the disease in the state.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Agriculture, Manzo Maigari, said that the chloro-dioxide was a potent agent which could be used to sanitise areas affected by the bird flu.
Maigari appealed to farmers to adhere strictly to the control measures to check the spread of the disease.
Other commissioners for agriculture, who spoke at the meeting, appealed to the Federal Government to compensate farmers whose farms were destroyed during the 2015 bird flu outbreak in the country.