Poultry farmers in Abuja and environs have been enlightened and cautioned on the dangers of avian influenza, popularly known as Bird Flu, which has no cure or any effective vaccine just like HIV in humans.
This caution was handed down by authorities of the FCT Agric and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS), at a sensitisation and advocacy workshop by experts, in Area 10, Abuja.
PeoplesDaily reports that over 200 farmers who attended the advocacy workshop were told that simple farm hygiene was the best remedy for Avian Influenza which has the capacity for 100% mortality and can drive farmers out of business.
Speaking at the event, FCT Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Regina Adulugba said that the advocacy was necessary to ensure that no Avian Influenza breaks in the FCT.
She said all participants should 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 in the workshop, Dr. Columba Teru Vakuru, Deputy Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in his paper warned that poultry farmers should be careful not to allow infection as a single mistake can wipe out a farm within three days of notice.
He warned farmers not to allow people from into their farms without being disinfected, saying 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.
Also, the break down being N11. 9 million paid to 609 affected farmers in Kuje and N400 million between January and March, 2016.