With Kehinde Oluwatayo
Experts in the agricultural sector have called on Ondo State Government to ensure there is restriction of movement of birds to the state to prevent the outbreak of Avian Influenza.
These experts who spoke with The Hope in Akure said the effect of the disease can be devastating since it is transmittable and has no cure for it.
A veterinary consultant, Dr Idowu Akingbade who is also a public health consultant said the most active thing to do is to mount a preventive measure so that it will not affect the poultry industry in the state through awareness of both the farmers and the general public.
“Government should mount a preventive measure so that it does not affect the poultry industry in the state. Should it affect it, that means a collapse of the industry and that can affect the economy of the state.
“In the same way, it will also affect the food value chain because the egg producers will not be able to produce and that can lead to food scarcity particularly meat from poultry.
“It should also be noted that there is no cure for the disease once it has started the expression of the symptoms and we have called on farmers not to vaccinate their bird if they notice the symptoms becuase the vaccines are not effective and can bring a different chain of the virus leading to a severe outbreak. Sensitisation is already going on particularly those farmers that are being covered by veterinary doctors.
“We have been telling them to step up there biosecurity measures, that is the upgrade of their sanitary measures, high personal hygiene practice among workers and in the farm to prevent the spread,” he advised.
Akingbade who called on the state government to resuscitate the moribund hatchery centers in both the state ministry of agriculture and ADP said there is no single hatchery center in the state which is why farmers go to neighbouring states to buy day old chicks.
“Egg sellers and chicken sellers should not go to states where there is outbreak already so that they will not import the disease to the state”.
He called on the media to sensitise the public to maintain high personal hygiene and advised that there is regular washing of hands adding that dead bird should not be eaten.
He also called on people who don’t have business in poultry farms should not go there and not touch birds and in case they do, they should follow the laid down hygiene standard.
Also, a general agriculturist and farm supervisor of Luhare Laboratory, Akure, Mr Oladapo Ewete said the normal thing to do when animals are being moved from one location to another is to quarantine them to check if the animals are diseased or not.
According to him, if they are diseased, they should be kept from other flock to prevent the spread of the disease.
Ewete also called on the state government to do public awareness through extension agents. According to him, farmers should be educated on how to identify the viral infection, how to diagnose, prevent and control it.
He advised that if the disease is noticed in any farm, such farm should be decontaminated and animals there should be burnt and buried.
He however charged farmers to insure there farms to prevent total loss in case of eventually.