Ministry Outlines Plans for Poultry

INDONESIA - Among yesterdays's announcements is that the government will ban small-scale poultry production by 2010 in an attempt to gain control avian flu. A group from Tajikistan is visiting the country to find out how the dangers of bird flu are taught in Indonesian schools.
calendar icon 15 October 2008
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Jakarta will clear out smaller-scale poultry industries by 2010 as part of its efforts to prevent more deaths from bird flu, agricultural authorities said on 15 October, reports Jakarta Post.

Muhammad Azhar, the Agriculture Ministry's coordinator for bird-flu control, said only six poultry-processing plants located on Jakarta's outskirts would be eligible to distribute chicken meat to traditional markets. Two years ago the city issued a poultry-restriction bylaw to enable such efforts.

"We hope by 2010 no live chickens will be sold at traditional markets. It's not an easy job for Jakarta, with its huge population and high density, to get rid of poultry industries, since these small-scale enterprises are the main income for many people. But this challenging target has to be met."

The planned restructuring of chicken farms and processing plants in the capital is apparently in line with key points in the 2007 much-praised bylaw on poultry restriction. Critics have only pointed out the government's inattention to enforcing the law.

Mr Azhar, however, was not clear whether the city would provide compensation or alternative ventures for current chicken processing business owners who will be forced to close down their businesses.

The Jakarta Husbandry and Fisheries Agency estimated in 2007 about 700 commercial poultry farms were raising and slaughtering chickens in the city. Two-thirds of them were located in Central and East Jakarta.

Azhar said the 2010 target was part of Jakarta's long-term plans to prevent the spread of bird flu in the capital. Out of 112 confirmed deaths from the bird-flu virus crossing over to the human population, more than 20 occurred in Jakarta.

The city also plans to work closely with neighboring cities like Tangerang in Banten and Bekasi in West Java. Both supply large quantities of live chickens and meat to Jakarta.

"Chicken consumption in Jakarta is quite high. It's around 700,000 chickens every day and most are raised outside Jakarta," he said.

Mr Azhar offered his comments during a workshop for journalists receiving grants from the Food and Agriculture Organization to work on news stories about bird flu.

Tajikistan Group Finds out about Bird Flu Education in Schools

Also on 15 October, delegates from Tajikistan - jointly hosted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and John Hopkins University - visited two Banten schools in Serang and Pandeglang to take a look at how teachers discussed avian influenza in their classrooms.

Basil A. Safi from John Hopkins said the study excursion was aimed at looking at Indonesian experiences with handling bird flu during the last three years.

"Learning about experiences here can help Tajikistan better prepare for the future," said Dr Safi.

"Tajikistan itself has yet to have a case of avian influenza, either in birds or humans. But, since many birds migrate from Asia to Africa, the country is considered to be at high risk," he said, adding they had led a similar tour in Egypt in June.

The delegates visited a state elementary school, SDN Cipocok Jaya 1, in Serang and an Islamic boarding school, Pesantren Daar el-Falaah, in Pandeglang.

They watched how teachers explained the lesson on how to prevent avian influenza to their students in a fun way.

The teachers conveyed essential prevention practices. Children learned to wash their hands before meals and to report any dead poultry immediately to neighbourhood community leaders.

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