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FAO trains Poultry farmers and Live bird market Operators on Biosecurity to Contain upsurge in bird flu in Nigeria

“The overall objective of the biosecurity training is to enhance the capacity of the field staff on Avian Influenza recognition, outbreak investigation, control and containment..."Koroma said

Abuja, Nigeria. As the Government of Nigeria (GoN) moves to contain the new incidence of bird flu in the Country, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) organised a two weeks biosecurity training for poultry farmers on disease mitigation and control.

The training which held at the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) Vom, Plateau State from 18th – 22nd March 2019 was aimed at building the capacity of poultry farmers and Live Birds Market (LBM) Operators, on compliance with biosecurity measures as well as field staff on Avian Influenza recognition, outbreak investigation, control and containment.

It is estimated that 70 percent of Nigerians either feed or derive livelihood support from the poultry sector, which also accounts for about 58 percent of the total livestock production in the country. Within the last 2 – 3 years, the outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) or bird flu caused by H5N1 and H5N8 has been reported to have  serious consequences on Trade, animal and human health. The recent upsurge in HPAI outbreaks have been reported  in five (5) States - Bauchi, Plateau, Kano, Nasarawa and Ogun.

Recognising the challenges posed by the recent outbreak, FAO, as part of its mandate, is providing technical and financial support to build capacity of the farmers, LBM operators and field veterinary officers on compliance with biosecurity measures, through the Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT-2) program under the Global Health Security Agenda (GSHA) to the Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services.

The capacity building efforts therefore is to safeguard the economy, the environment and related concerns associated with Avian Influenza in birds and ducks.

Commenting on the training, the FAO country Representative in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma commended the efforts of the Department of Veterinary Services for the unwavering commitment to contain the resurging Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in the Country within the shortest time.

He also commended the Government for the zeal to prevent a spill of the outbreak to other states, noting, “FAO has supported the Government of Nigeria with field materials to contain the recent outbreak in the affected states.”

Koroma reiterates the Agency’s continued commitment to support the containment of the outbreak, to prevent a possible spill over to yet to be affected states, and advised the poultry farmers to adhere to the training lessons, as the training was critical in preventing wide-spread Avian Influenza outbreaks in the Country.

“The overall objective of the biosecurity training is to enhance the capacity of the field staff on Avian Influenza recognition, outbreak investigation, control and containment; improve the knowledge of the state veterinary officers on HPAI recognition and all the steps involved in outbreak investigation and control”, Koroma said.

Furthermore, “the prevention of poultry diseases involves good biosecurity, good management and vaccination practices as well as attitudinal changes”, said Dr Olaniran Alabi, the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria.

“Let me also in a special way commend the efforts of the FAO for sponsoring this training and their willingness to  collaborate further with us to prevent, control and eradicate Avian Influenza (Bird flu) and other Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) from the Country, in order to save lives and livelihoods as well as avert socio-economic crisis in the livestock industry particularly the poultry sector of our economy”

The Director/Chief Executive of the National Veterinary Research Institute, VOM, Dr David Shamaki said that the gathering of the poultry farmers shows the individual and collective commitment and determination to eliminating HPAI from Nigeria poultry industry, and that the training was made possible with the efforts of the FAO, and urged the participants to interact and share experiences towards achieving the goals and objectives of the training workshop.

Another training will take place from 25-29 March 2019, targeting veterinary officers from all 36 states of the Federation and the FCT.

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