A new strain of Avian Influenza (H5N8) believed to be very devastating has hit the poultry industry, the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said.
Ogbeh who disclosed this at a consultative meeting with Commissioners of Livestock, state Directors of Veterinary Services and other stakeholders in the sector expressed worry that the new strain of H5N8 discovered in Kano State would worsen the burdens of the strain already discovered in 26 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He lamented that the disease being trans-boundary in nature and also trade limiting has caused some of the neighbouring countries to propose ban on poultry and poultry products from Nigeria and if care is not taken it would lead to egg glut in the country.
Ogbeh said: “This may undesirably lead to egg glut in the country. There are already huge losses to the poultry industry and nation as a whole and I feel the pains of affected poultry farmers, firstly as a poultry farmer and secondly as a minister responsible for the availability and safety of food to Nigerians as well as diversification of the economy through agriculture.”
The minister blamed the current outbreaks of bird flu in the country on the inability of poultry farmers to comply with on-farm quarantine measures and movement restriction, violation of bio-security measures which led to the rapid spread of the disease to other areas and states; clustering of poultry farms and limited adherence to basic hygienic and on farm biosecurity measures.