Tracking AI in Nigeria

11-12-2006 | |

Bird flu has hit Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, hardest. With the potential for new outbreaks, the Nigerian Agriculture Ministry, backed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the European Union, has set up a new surveillance scheme to help track avian flu across the country.

After the first cases of bird flu were discovered at Sambawa Farms in January, the virus appeared to have spread quickly through other regions of Nigeria. In the next eight months H5N1 was reported in 14 of Nigeria’s 36 states.
Compensation after the outbreaks earlier this year was paid mainly to the big commercial farms because they were the ones that complied with official requirements reporting and culling by government veterinary teams; but even the compensation process has run into problems, with payments stopped in July after the government department in charge ran out of funds.
Small-scale poultry farmers are the most vulnerable.
The FAO estimates that they oversee more than 60 % of Nigeria’s 140 million poultry. Several Birnin Yero residents said they usually made a meal of their birds to cut their losses once they showed signs of terminal sickness, and they have not reported the recent poultry deaths because they were not included in previous compensation payments and, therefore, said they fail to see how they will benefit from reporting to government officials.

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