Written by Austine ELEMUE

ARDS warns FCT poultry farmers, avian Flu has no cure

Authorities of the Federal Capital Territory Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, ARDS, have warned poultry farmers in Abuja and its environs that avian influenza, popularly known as Bird Flu has no cure or any effective vaccine just like HIV in humans.

This warning was handed down in Abuja at a sensitisation and advocacy workshop by experts and echoed by the Mandate Secretary of Agric and Rural Development Secretariat, Mr. Stanley Nzekwe. 

The over 200 farmers who attended the advocacy workshop were told that simple farm hygiene was the best remedy against Avian Influenza which has the capacity for 100 percent mortality and can drive farmers out of business. 

Speaking earlier, FCT Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Regina Adulugba, said that the advocacy was necessary to ensure that FCT do not record any case of Avian Influenza, while calling on all participants to help spread the information to let other poultry farmers, poultry processors, poultry transporters and help everybody in the value chain to keep Avian Influenza away from the FCT. 

Three papers were delivered at the workshop, Dr. Columba Vakuru, Deputy Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in his paper warned that poultry farmers should be careful not to allow infection, noting that a single mistake can wipe out a farm within three days of notice.

He warned farmers not to allow people from outside into their farms without being disinfected, noting that only staff should have free access in farms while staff who have visited other farms should take a holiday and be disinfected before returning to the facility. 

Apart from farm fumigation, bird cages and farm vehicles should be properly disinfected while wood cages should be faced out and replaced with plastic and iron cages for easy disinfection as the wood soaks and retains moisture. 

In a related development, between 2006 when the first case of Avian Flu broke in the FCT and 2016, the government has paid compensation to farmers to the tune of N421.9 million. The break down being N11. 9 million paid to 609 affected farmers in Kuje and N400 million between January and March, 2016.   



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