Abuja - Stakeholders in the local poultry sector have joined their international counterparts to explore ways to prevent and control the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
The meeting, which the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organised in Senegal, comes on the back of outbreaks in the Bauchi and Plateau States locally.
Poultry farms have been destroyed to curb further outbreaks.
To address the problem that has also troubled neighbouring countries, more than 50 experts from some ten countries in West and Central Africa have met in Dakar, including representatives of veterinary services and of the private sector, as well as representatives of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and international institutions, including the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
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Vincent Martin, FAO Regional Representative, stressed the contribution of the poultry sector in the national and local economies.
“The importance of the poultry sector is well established. It contributes to promoting job creation in this promising and growing field. In rural areas, family poultry contributes to the enhancement of people’s livelihoods and to women’s empowerment,” he added.
FAO’s objective in organizing this meeting is therefore to facilitate the development of national risk management plans that are economically and socially acceptable by stakeholders from the private sector and public authorities.
These plans will contribute to the finalization of the regional emergency program for the prevention and control of HPAI, whose guidelines have already been discussed during the emergency consultation for the prevention and control of HPAI, organized by FAO and ECOWAS in Abuja in June.
Since the first incursion of the HPAI H5N1 virus in the region in 2006, the poultry sector has undergone major changes in West and Central Africa.
These changes affect the increase in production, with an annual average growth of 10 percent in the last decade, volume, structure and diversity of traded poultry products. These changes also account for the arrival of new stakeholders, which must be taken into account in the design and implementation of prevention and control measures against HPAI.
- CAJ News