Bird flu fight needs more funds

05-12-2006 | |

Adequate and prompt compensation payments for poultry farmers forced to cull birds because of avian influenza is central to the fight against the disease, and is likely to cost $1.2-1.5 billion more than anticipated over the next 2-3 years, according to international experts.

A report released by international organisations ahead of a bird flu meeting and donor summit this week has urged more effective compensation programmes, in order to ensure that farmers whose birds fall sick feel comfortable to provide information to authorities.
They say that the international community may have to foot the bill for countries that cannot afford to adequately compensate farmers, as it is clearly in all developed countries’ interests to prevent the spread of the disease. The organisations have recommended a compensation amount of 75-90 percent of the value of lost stock.
“The effort to tackle avian flu can only succeed with the most thorough and rapid cooperation of farmers, smallholders, and others who depend on their poultry for a living,” United Nations pandemic and influenza coordinator David Nabarro said.
“They must be compensated for birds and other property that are destroyed as part of control efforts. All countries want guidance on how best to go about effective compensation,” Nabarro said.
Compensation will be a key agenda item at a bird flu summit in the West African country of Mali on December 6-8, with a focus on how much to pay farmers and how they should be paid.

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