A total of GH₵20.1 million has been released by the government for the payment of compensation to poultry farms affected by the outbreak of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, popularly known as bird flu, and undertake strategic interventions to grow the industry.
In all, 203 farms are expected to benefit from the GH₵17 million, which has been dedicated for compensation payment, out of the total amount.
The number of farms included the outstanding 36 poultry farms affected by bird flu between 2015 and 2018 and the 167 which suffered losses from July to December 2021.
At a press conference in Accra, the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr .Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the rest of the funds would cater for the recruitment and deployment of 550 veterinary professionals, procurement of vehicles, motorcycles and laboratory equipment for the smooth operations of the Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD) in the various districts to help curb the spread of such diseases.
He noted that the 37 farms, which had experienced outbreaks this year throughout the country, had also been captured in the database of the ministry for subsequent compensation.
To ensure all affected farmers from July to December 31, 2021 receive some compensation for any losses incurred as a result of the outbreak, he said the ministry had agreed to pay GH₵30 for a matured bird, GH₵20 for a pollet, GH₵10per chick, GH₵80 for a bag of feed and GH₵10 for a crate of egg based on the amount available.
The minister asked affected poultry farmers who lost their birds between July and December last year to collect their certificates of destruction from the VSD and submit to the Finance and Administration Unit of MoFA for commencement of payments.
He reiterated the need for all farmers to intensify their biosecurity measures on farms, and also to avoid restocking farms until biosecurity certification and management practices were certified by the VSD and Animal Production Directorate.
Currently, Dr. Akoto said a biometric registration and certification of all poultry farms in the country was ongoing to set-up a comprehensive database for all poultry farmers in the country.
“This is all part of modernizing poultry farming in the country and enhancing the accuracy of data for planning, targeting for support and payment of compensations when the need arises in the future,” he stated.
The minister expressed concern about the proliferation of poultry farmers, saying majority of them operated small scale backyard poultry farms which become vulnerable and agents for the spread of diseases such as the current bird flu.
Dr Akoto said “Farms that do not receive certification will not be compensated by government during future outbreaks.”
Patrick Abakeh, Director of Veterinary Services, MoFA, cautioned poultry farmers against importing or moving chicks to various parts of the country without certification.
He said the ministry would be compelled to destroy such farms in the case of an outbreak without the payment of compensation.
Chairman of the Ghana National Poultry Farmers Association, Victor OppongAdjei, thanked the government for supporting the farmers who have been hard-pressed by their situation.
He described as laudable the intention to register farmers, adding that it would help the industry and government in monitoring activities in the business, and assured of best farm management practices to curb spread of diseases.