Naija Foodie Update


The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned Nigeria of a possible spread of Avian Influenza to its citizens if not contained as quickly as possible.

The Country Representation of
FAO, Dr Louise Setshwaelo, issued
the warning on Thursday in Abuja, while donating
containment equipment to the
Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“The stakes are now high; the possibility of the disease becoming endemic in Nigeria is real and this is of great concern to us in FAO.

“Not only will this have a profound consequence on the
country’s poultry industry, but also to the rest of the West
African sub-region.

“So far, no human cases of bird flu has been have been reported in Nigeria minister.

“However, I would like to note that if the disease becomes
endemic in Nigeria, there is a possibility of human cases

“I think this is an important message all of us in the poultry
sector should take note of.’’

The country rep said FAO together with other development
partners would continue to support the federal and state
governments in implementing control and containment
measures against the disease.

Setshwaelo said that since Jan. 2015, the materials that FAO
donated to the ministry coupled with the financial support for laboratory diagnosis, control of outbreaks as well as strengthening surveillance and early detection, amounted to $600,000.

She urged the ministry to ensure
effective use of the materials to wipe out the virus within the
shortest time possible While receiving the equipment on behalf of the Federal
Government, the Minister of State
for Agriculture, Sen. Hainneken Lopobiri, expressed gratitude to FAO for its support.

“Let me on behalf of the Federal
Government of Nigeria express
our profound gratitude to FAO and other development partners for this initiative.

“I want to assure you that these items that have been given to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development will be put to very judicious use.

“That is the only feedback I know you want to hear.

“Having shown your
commitment, I want to assure you that we will do whatever is
necessary to use these materials
combat the ongoing spread of avian influenza that has very serious effect on the economic and on the health of Nigerians.’’

Lopobiri said now that the ministry had been empowered
with the equipment, it was ready to respond to any situation within the shortest time possible.

The minister said that the ministry would collaborate with
state governments and FCT to ensure that all stakeholders
worked closely to “win the battle
against the virus’’.

He said the government has no
confidence in imported frozen
poultry, adding that the ministry had always emphasised the need for Nigerians to produce
sufficient livestock to feed the populace.

Lopobiri said that the ministry officials were concerned for
poultry producers and that by the time the National Budget was passed by the National Assembly,
they would be supported.

NAN recalls that Avian Influenza had spread into 23 states and
the FCT since its resurgence in Jan. 2015, killing no fewer than 2.3 million birds.


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