The Federal Government has assured poultry farmers of its readiness to compensate those affected by the 2015/2016 Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) outbreak across the country.
Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, gave the assurance in Abuja.
He said that although the computed amount was quite huge, the Federal Government was working out modalities on how to settle the farmers soon.
“We have not compensated any farmer in the last one year because we have no money. The last compensation they were paid was a donation from the World Bank. I lost a lot of chickens too.
“We are trying to find money to pay them. So, it was a disaster; we can actually prevent Avian Flu in poultry through biosecurity measures in farms.
“Many farmers are very careless. Sometimes, the human being is a bigger transporter of diseases into the poultry farm than chicken.
“Make sure people don’t walk into your farm anyhow, a farmer from another farm don’t enter your farms, the feed sacks you use are not reused.
“There was an outbreak in Kano about two months ago but it has been contained; so, somehow, we are limiting the outbreak of the disease.
“We have to find money to pay those who lost chickens but the sums are huge.
“If we have to pay for all the chickens, we may be talking of something in the neighbourhood of six or seven billion (naira) in many states, especially around Kano and Kaduna.
“People were moving chickens all over the place without checking and some of the hatcheries are very dirty; so, other diseases have to come in.’’
The minister said that one of the biggest achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in agriculture was giving farmers an opportunity to own businesses and make huge earnings from them.
Ogbeh said that the government was planning to establish massive coconut, cocoa and shea butter plantations in some parts of the country to revive trade in the crops, while boosting local consumption and exports.
He urged the citizens to embrace farming as a way of inventing their future.