NIGERIA - A leading veterinarian warns that avian influenza poses a threat to the country's poultry sector, which is estimated to be worth 700 billion naira (NGN) or around US$3.4 billion
The chairman of the Ekiti State branch of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association, NEVMA, Dr Odunayo Alo, says that avian influenza (bird flu) is a threat to the NGN-700 billion poultry industry in the country.
According to the National Mirror report, Dr Alo said those who deal in poultry and other related products needed to be sensitised and assisted to ensure the disease was kept at bay in the state.
The NEVMA boss spoke in Ado-Ekiti on 11 February while distributing biosecurity materials to live poultry sellers as part of steps to prevent spread of the disease in the state.
He said: “We must be proactive in our approach to the issue of avian influenza,” charging the beneficiaries on efficient use of the products to ensure that human and live poultry were not exposed to the virus.
He added that the gesture became imperative based on the notification by the Chief Veterinary Officer of the Federation that the Nigeria poultry industry was under threat by the virus.
He continued: “Though no outbreak of the disease has been recorded in this state yet, we think it is necessary to give these important items to stakeholders so they can ensure upkeep of their poultry and the pen environment.
“If the poultry industry is contributing NGN-700 billion to the nation’s economy, you can imagine the proportional economic gains it gives to the economy.”
The veterinarian said the avian influenza epidemic, which broke out in Kano bird market and later spread to the Lagos market, had shown that live bird markets were important sites for the spread of the virus.
The Permanent Secretary, state Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Engr Ebenezer Abegunde, said the state government was throwing its weight behind the gesture of NEVMA because of its value to human and animal health in the state.
Mr Abegunde, while stressing that the deadly disease poses great threat to animals and human lives, assured that government was already taking all necessary step to prevent spread of the scourge to the state.
The State Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Ojo, assured that the gesture would be taken beyond Ado Ekiti, the state capital to all the 16 council areas of the state.
A representative of bird sellers, Duduyemi Idowu, showered praise on the Veterinary Medical Association and the state government for the timely intervention.
She promised that the items distributed would be put to best use in order to achieve the mission of the donor, adds the National Mirror report.ThePoultrySite News Desk