The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has paid over GH¢1 million compensation to 25 poultry farmers whose farms were destroyed because of the outbreak of bird flu in the country.
The ministry adopted a simple formula for payment of the compensation based on the market value of live birds, eggs and feed.
The sector minister, Mr Fifi Kwettey, who presented the cheques to the affected farmers at a ceremony in Accra yesterday, said the payment of the compensation was expected to encourage poultry farmers to report any outbreak of the bird flu early and contribute to efforts to contain the disease.
He said the government was fully aware of the importance of compensation payment to affected poultry farmers in the wake of the outbreak of bird flu in the country.
The government, in July this year, placed a ban on the movement of birds and other poultry products from the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Volta, Western and Central regions to other parts of the country, following the outbreak of bird flu.
The measure formed part of government’s holistic strategy to contain the disease in the country.
Over 68,000 birds were destroyed in the five affected regions as well as some crates of egg, poultry feed and infected wooden structures on farms.
More than 23,000 birds have died from the disease while 140,000 more have so far been destroyed to contain the outbreak.
The agriculture minister explained that the compensation was paid for only birds, eggs and feed that were destroyed by veterinary staff as part of the effort to prevent the disease from spreading from an affected farm to other farms.
Mr Kwettey further explained that as a control measure against bird flu, stamping out was carried out on all poultry farms that were affected by the disease-meaning that birds on poultry farms that had not yet died from the disease were destroyed and properly disposed of.
Number of Birds
He gave the number of birds of various species and ages that were destroyed as 44,144 and said the amount paid represented 90 per cent of the total current market value. Although this percentage of payment to the affected farmers might not be satisfactory, “this is what the ministry can do for now,” he added.
Mr Kwettey indicated that the essence of the payment of the compensation was to enable the beneficiaries to invest the funds back into poultry production as some sentinel birds would be on the farms to assure the farmers that their farms were free from the disease and the virus and that they could start production again.
For her part, Dr Hannah Bissiw, a deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Livestock, said the ban on the transportation of live birds due to the spread of bird flu, was still in force and asked the public to be cautious.
Lifting of ban
She explained that the government had, however, rolled out a process to lift the ban and said this included the launch of a surveillance stage which could last for a year, “We are studying the situational reports, which would inform the decision to lift the ban.
“We need to take these measures to make sure that in the next few months before Christmas, the Greater Accra Region is safe from the bird flu and the other regions are also safe,” she added.
Major General Edwin Kwamena Sam (Retd), who spoke on behalf of the farmers, thanked the government for the gesture and appealed for more support from government to enable poultry farmers to produce more to feed the nation.