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General News of Sunday, 6 May 2007

Source: GNA

Farmers call for compensation

Tema, May 06, GNA - Tema Poultry and Livestock Farmers on Saturday called on the government to consider putting modalities in place to adequately compensate farmers should any farm be destroyed on detection of any disease.

This is because the venture is capital intensive as a 20 kilo of wheat bran alone costs 20,000 cedis and so "we would not accept any meager compensation offered us, Mr Ellis Aferi, Chairman of the Livestock and Farmers Association made the call when he spoke to the GNA at Tema on Saturday.

He was surprised that for the two years that the outbreak of the H5Ni Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) was announced globally the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the Veterinary Services Division (VET) have not thought of the plight of the farmers should the disease breaks out in the country.

Asked why he entertained that fear, the Chairman said some years ago when the swine fever was detected on some farms, the affected farmers were not adequately compensated and this placed them in financial difficulties.

"The swine fever incident which was not properly addressed is still fresh in our minds, so this time round if similar incident happens again we will not cooperate with the authorities", he warned. Mr Aferi blamed the VET for any inconveniences in the poultry industry because for the past four months it has not supplied the farmers with vaccines.

He said it was about time the MOFA procured modern equipment to detect viruses among the birds rather than to rely on foreign countries. At last Wednesday a Press Conference to announce the detection of the bird flu virus, Mr Ernest Debrah stated that samples of virus would be sent to the World Organisation for Animal Health Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory in Italy for further confirmation and to determine the source of the alleged virus.