The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, on Monday, October 31, resumed his regional working tour to the Western, Western North, Central, Volta, and Oti Regions.
The second leg of the working tour comes at the heels of similar successful ones undertaken early this year to other regions in the country.
The visit will largely afford the minister the chance to interact with farmers, input dealers, directors amongst others.
His first port of call was the Western North Region where Dr. Afriyie Akoto allayed the fears of poultry farmers, stressing that the government was poised to combat the bird flu outbreaks.
According to him, the disease affected farmers in regions including Western, Western North, Central, Volta and Oti Regions.
He disclosed that a total of 280 farms have so far been affected by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) with 997,743 birds destroyed.
He also stated that the government had paid some GHS15,630,913.33 as compensation to affected poultry farmers.
To control the disease, Dr. Afriyie Akoto said the government had approved an amount of GHS43,984,017.70 out of which twenty million Ghana cedis had already been released.
He further noted that an approval has also been given to recruit some one thousand one hundred (1,100) veterinary officers, stating that out of the 1,100, 550 have been recruited and posted.
He said the remaining 550 were yet to be recruited and posted within a period of two years.
In this vein, the Minister advised farmers against accepting birds or eggs from other farms onto their farms.
He also admonished the poultry farmers to ensure thorough washing with soap and water immediately after handling birds, urging them to confine their birds from other birds.
He called on the farmers to regularly wash poultry equipment and bury or burn dead birds and keep waste away from the farm house.
For his part, the Director of Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD) at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Patrick Abakeh, cautioned that compensations for bird flu-infested farms will not be paid to farmers who fail to register with the VSD
He, therefore, called on the farmers to register their farms with the VSD.
This, he explained, will give the authorities the knowledge on the number of farmers and quantity of birds affected.
Additionally, he asked the farmers to acquire certification from the VSD to qualify them for compensation following the bird flu outbreaks.
From Western North, the Minister will take his tour Western Region, Central, Oti and Volta.