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PIA Press Release

DA to focus on backyard poultry raisers to prevent avian flu

Davao City (2 December) -- An aggressive campaign against Avian Flu virus contamination must also be focused on backyard poultry growers as this comprises a big percentage of the industry in the Davao region.

Dr. Jean Bacayo, chief of veterinary and quarantine division of the Department of Agriculture in the Davao region admitted the difficulty of reaching out to backyard poultry raisers as they are fragmented.

He said of the estimated 150 million poultry heads in Southern Mindanao some 105 million or 70 percent are from backyard poultry raisers.

Bacayo said there is really a need for coordination among barangay officials because they are more knowledgeable of their respective communities if only to reach these sectors in terms of monitoring and advocacy.

"It is important that these sectors be given proper education with regards protection against Avian Flu virus so as not to endanger the poultry industry," he said.

Bacayo said the market is good and the poultry raisers have the advantage after other areas in the region were stricken with the Avian flu virus.

He said this is one of the reasons why the monitoring has to be strengthened.

"Although importation of poultry product is still open to countries not affected by the Avian Flu like US and the European countries, many are already barred from importing", he said.

Among the countries affected because of the contamination of the virus are Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and Netherlands.

"Good with Japan because they were able to stamp out the virus immediately because of they have the financial capability," he said. He said that without the necessary fund to combat the virus , it would be very difficult even as he said that the Philippine government is mulling some budgetary allocation to address the problem and to put in place preventive measures.

"We have to tighten our guards para di makarating sa mga chicken ng Pilipinas because this is deadly and once infected it will be a big loss to the industry," he said.

He said the moment it reaches the country , there is the danger that the entire poultry will be infected if not eliminated right away because transmission of the virus is fast.

He said DA has a preparedness and response plan composed of four steps.

Steps 1 and 2 are directed to the DA where the first step is on the prevention of entry and the second is control and eradication of the Bird Flu.

Bacayo did not however elaborate on the last two steps but said the two other steps will be handled by the Department of Health.

As part of the DA preparedness plan Bacayo said once an area is infected with the virus, poultry heads within three-kilometer radius will be eliminated and there will also be no movement of chicken within the seven-kilometer radius.

He urged the public to cooperate with the government's preventive campaign saying once they noticed an abnormal number of death of chicken in the area it should be reported immediately to DA through the rapid response team near their area. (PIA/pdbanzon) [top]

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