Poultry farmers in Plateau State on Sunday cried out that bird flu remains a serious threat to the nation’s economy and called on the Federal Government to tackle it.
The farmers also called on government and other relevant authorities to expedite action on the payment of compensation to those whose farms were quarantined.
Alhaji Moshood Okanlawon, one of the poultry farmers, told the News Agency Nigeria in Jos, Plateau State that the disease, which ravaged poultry farms recently, had resulted in unemployment.
Okanlawon explained that the negative economic implications of bird flu on the nation’s economy had a wider impact on the lucrative poultry business.
He said: The incursion of bird flu has really affected the economy of Plateau and the nation at large because poultry business is very lucrative.
“I had 21 workers on my payroll, but I had to disengage them because the disease has left us with no option.
“I lost over 19, 800 birds.
“The implication of this on the economy has a wider impact because it has affected the farmers that provide us with the crops, the feeds millers and finally the poultry farmers.”
Another farmer, Rebecca Okafor, said she had been into poultry farming in the last 18 years, describing it as a very “good business”.
Okafor said poultry farming has tremendous economic importance, adding that the avian influenza had destroyed the business.
Okafor explained that over 700 of her birds were infected by the disease and her farm was quarantined.
She said: “More than 75 crates of eggs and chickens being produced weekly had stopped and I cannot supply manure to local farmers.
“I am very sympathetic with my workers because most of them earn their living in my farm but I have no option than to sack them.”
Similarly, Alhaji Abdulazeez Qamarudeen said over 3,650 of his birds were infected with bird flu.
Qamarudeen called on government to compensate farmers that were affected, saying poultry farming contributes largely to the GDP of the country due to generation of employment and business opportunities.
“This is why government must not neglect this agriculture sub-sector of the economy because it will be dangerous to the economy,” he said
But Gladys Okafor, the Public Relations Officer of the Poultry Association of Nigeria in Plateau State, said the group was doing everything possible to facilitate compensation for farmers whose farms were quarantined.
Okafor called on the affected farmers to exercise patience as government was looking into their plight.