Farmers, Invited Guests, ladies and gentlemen of the press. You would recall my recent press briefing communicating to your various measures that have been put in place regarding the outbreak of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in 2021. In that briefing I indicated amongst others, the approval for the release of an emergency budget support of approximately Forty-Four million Ghana Cedis (GHC 44 million) to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Government also granted approval for the immediate recruitment and deployment of an initial 550 veterinary professionals, out of a total of 1100 Professionals, procurement of vehicles, motorbikes and laboratory equipment for the smooth operations of the Veterinary Services Directorate. Today, I have invited you here to update you on matters relating to payment of compensation to affected poultry farmers. As at now, government has released GHC20,105,718.03 which was meant for the following activities. Details of the released amount is as follows:
❖ Stamping Out, decontamination and disposal materials
❖ Compensation to currently affected farmers and some outstanding compensation from 2015-2018
❖ Roll-out of a Communication plan
Following the release of part of the approved funds, it was observed that between July and December 2021, the number of farms and birds affected have doubled. As at October 2021 when the Cabinet memo was approved 261,000 birds, 1,243 bags of feed, and 1,447 crates of eggs had been destroyed as a result of the disease. However, by 31st December 2021, which was used as the cut off point for the payment of this compensation, the total number of birds affected by the Bird Flu is 554,638. Quantity of the feed destroyed had increased to 1,701.5 bags and 2,548 crates of egg were affected. This situation depicts an increased number of birds, quantity of feed and crates of eggs destroyed. To ensure all affected farmers from July to December 31st, 2021 receive some compensation for any losses incurred as a result of the outbreak, the Ministry has agreed to pay GHC30.00 for a matured bird, GHC20.00 for a pullet, GHC10.00 per chick, GHC80.00 for a bag of feed and GHC10.00 for a crate of egg based on the amount available immediately. The Ministry, also received the requisite data on the number of farms that were affected during the outbreaks of 2016, 2017 and 2018. An outstanding Thirty-Six (36) poultry farms will also receive their compensation. Those who have experienced outbreaks in the year 2022 throughout the country have also been captured in the database of the Ministry and will be subsequently in consultation with the Ministry of Finance be taken care of. Affected poultry farmers between July – December 31st 2021, should collect their certificates of destruction from the VSD and submit to the Finance and Administration Unit of MoFA for commencement of payments. Ladies and Gentlemen, before taking my seat I wish to urge all farmers to intensify their biosecurity measures on farms and to avoid restocking of farms until biosecurity certification and management practices are certified by the Veterinary Services Directorate & Animal Production Directorate. Also a biometric registration and certification of all poultry farms in the country currently is ongoing. I urge all farmers to lend themselves to the biometric processes so they can be captured in the comprehensive database of poultry farmers in the country. This is all part of modernizing poultry farming in the country and enhancing the accuracy of data for planning, targeting for support and payment of compensations when the need arises in the future. As it stands now, there is a proliferation of poultry farmers, majority of which are small scale backyard poultry farms. In times of disease outbreaks such as the current HPAI (Bird Flu) outbreak, these small scale farmers become vulnerable and therefore agents for the spread of the disease. Farms that do not receive certification will not be compensated by Government during future outbreaks.
Thank you for your kind attention.