By Fatima Muraina
The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), has raised an alarm on the urgent need for the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and government at all levels to increase funding to save the Poultry subsector from collapsing.
This came following the confirmation of the highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) outbreaks in four states; (Lagos, Delta, Osun and Bayelsa) by the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI).
This is just as the Federal Government has urged farmers to take a number of measures to curtail the spread to their farms.
The South west Chairman of PAN, Mr Gideon Oluleye who spoke with The Hope in an exclusive interview stated that farmers in Ondo State were already strengthening biosecurity measures and trying to ensure that a law is put in place such that birds on transit have a certification that the farm they are coming from does not have Bird Flu.
He said Ondo state farmers are trying to prevent bird flu from spreading into the state.
Recounting farmers’ experience in some states, Oluleye said : “Last year and early this year, there were reoccurences in Delta state, where a farmer, the CAN Chairman lost over 75,000 birds.
In the southwest, one Alaska also lost about 150,000 birds early this year and many others like that which has become a threat to the subsector.”
He charged government to critically disburse fund to the veterinary department or bring in vaccines to mitigate the effect of Bird Flu because there is no control for the influenza presently.
According to him, a lot of bird flu vaccines are coming in which attracts the virus hence there is need for government to organise and arrange a holistic plan to stem the spread of the disease.
” If we want to bring in the vaccines, lets bring it in and let it go round. If we do not want to bring in the vaccines, lets know that there is no pockets of farmers using the vaccines underground and when the bird flu breaks out, birds in the whole farm have to be slaughtered to prevent its spread”, he declared.
Oluleye said government should not allow the subsector to collapse for its importance in protein provision as well as generating employment to about 25 million people through the direct or indirect employment and being the only subsector that generates more GDP into the country.
He called on the Federal government to step up modalities to deal with the outbreak of bird flu as well as compensating farmers that suffer loses.
“You can imagine somebody having 150,000 birds and lost them all in one day, where is he going to start from?.
“Again 200,000 birds in the East, south south 75,000 and lots more were lost to bird flu apart from the small holder farmers that lost about 10,000, 20,000 and so on.
He expressed that farmers are afraid to stock now because they are afraid of getting loans to buy birds only for bird flu to wipe away their investment.
According to him, the subsector is currently volatile because the input are high as a result of inflation in the economy and that the supply of grains is also affected due to the war between Russia and Ukraine.
He also noted that the additives used in manufacturing the feeds are imported, saying this has added to the major concern of farmers.
” All these calls for concerns. We are calling on all levels of government including local, state and the federal government as well as the CBN to do something to increase funding to the subsector of the economy so that it can be stabilised,” he said.