GHANA – The Ashaiman Municipality in the Greater Accra Region is grappling with a significant outbreak of avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, with reports indicating a total of 7,947 birds, predominantly fowls, succumbing to the disease within the Irrigation Development Authority (IDA) enclave since November 10 this year.
The Municipal Chief Executive for Ashaiman, Mr. Albert Boakye Okyere, revealed the alarming statistics during the 39th National Farmers’ Day celebration in the municipality on Friday. Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread from birds to humans, posing potential fatalities.
Mr. Okyere assured the public that the assembly, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, is actively working to contain the spread of the disease. He urged farmers to promptly report any suspected cases to the department to facilitate swift action.
In addition to addressing the bird flu outbreak, the municipality has been proactive in combating other agricultural challenges. Mr. Okyere highlighted successful interventions against the Fall Army Worm, with the distribution of free insecticides and effective extension services to over 40 farmers leading to a significant reduction in cases.
The Municipal Chief Executive emphasized the importance of empowering farmers with knowledge and resources to adapt to the evolving circumstances posed by factors such as population growth and climate change.
He underscored the need for a collective effort to ensure food security, income generation, and wealth creation for farmers in the municipality.
Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, Ernest Norgbe, raised concerns about the encroachment on IDA lands designated for farming by private developers.
He called upon the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly and traditional authorities to address this issue promptly, emphasizing the importance of protecting these lands meant for agricultural purposes.
The encroachment poses a threat to the region’s farming activities and contributes to the challenges faced by the community, especially in the wake of the bird flu outbreak.
The outbreak involved strains of H5N1 and H7N6 of HPAI, with potential losses for the poultry industry exceeding R1.8 billion (U.S$ 97.8 million). This is comparable to the losses experienced during the previous HPAI outbreaks in 2019, which led to the culling of three million birds.