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Over GH¢40 million to be used to contain bird flu

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The Government of Ghana has approved for GHS 43, 984, 017.70 to be given to the Ministry of food and Agriculture to battle the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and also fight against any future incidences.

the amount approved is expected to cover the cost of 33 cross country 4×4 vehicles, 275 motorbikes, compensation payments to farmers, active disease surveillance of domestic and wild birds’  population, stamping out, decontamination and disposal of materials, etc.

For the effective prevention, detection, and control of animal diseases in the country, 1100 vertinary officers have been approved for immediate recruitment.

During a media briefing in Accra, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, announced that 50% of the vertinary officers would be recruited immediately while the remaining 50% would be recruited during a period of 2years i.e., 2022-2024.

According to Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, to oversee the successful completion of an action developed for containing the HPAI, a nine-member ministerial committee with membership from allied institutions would be established.  The committee would be supported by three-member committees at the regional and district levels for coordination, monitoring, and evaluation purposes.

Ghana experienced HPAI outbreaks in 2007, 2015, 2018, and 2021 which led to high mortality of birds, loss of livelihoods, and investments.

Dr. Akoto asserts that the economic cost to the government in terms of loss of livelihoods of farmers, production, productivity, and investment would collapse the poultry industry and compromise the self-sufficiency agenda of the nation in food production.

The HPAI is a virulent zoonotic disease easily transferable from birds to humans. It occurs through having direct contact with infected birds, contaminated feeds, and fomites.