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Heightened Focus On Poultry Sector Development

by 5m Editor
24 July 2007, at 12:30pm

GUYANA - Development of the local poultry sector is among the administration’s primary focus as part of its agricultural diversification thrust and in this regard, several initiatives are currently being implemented.

The poultry sector has been identified as an area with great potential that could be developed to further expand the country’s economic base through the livestock sector, which currently contributes about 2.2 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud, at a press conference today, announced that the Animal (Movement) and Disease Prevention (Sale of Chicks) Regulations have been put into effect from July 10, 2007 in response to reports of non-vaccination of baby chicks sold by some hatcheries. Immediate implementation of the Regulations make it mandatory for owners and operators of hatcheries to ensure that all baby chicks are vaccinated against Inclusion Body Hepatitis before being sold. It also requires that one month after commencement of the Regulations, owners and operators must ensure that all baby chicks are vaccinated against Mareks, Fowl Pox and Gomboro. Failure to comply with the Regulations will make the offender (s) liable to a fine not exceeding $100, 000 and imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.

The Guyana Veterinary Services Laboratory, which was established a year ago is now fully staffed to conduct tests and monitor the disease status of the poultry industry.

“This would allow the local poultry producers to move one step closer to fulfilling the requirements for export. In addition, through this intervention the management of poultry will be enhanced as a result of having an established poultry health database for the industry,” the Minister said.

Additionally, Government is pursuing efforts to ensure that the health status of chicks is maintained through testing of feed samples from various producers, while finished products are inspected to ensure they are wholesome for human consumption. These activities are being undertaken through a collaborative venture by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Veterinary Public Health Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) and the Guyana Poultry Producers Association (GPPA). Another intervention by the administration is vaccination of baby chicks in response to farmers’ requests for such an exercise while quarantine officers continue to monitor all port of entries to ensure the importation of standard and quality eggs and other poultry products.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is also undertaking a Bird Flu Prevention Programme which focuses on management of the disease outbreak with activities such as emergency investigation, handling of infected premises and sample testing.

Commenting on the increase in chicken prices, Minister Persaud said based on reports there is not a shortage, but it appears that the situation is linked to increase in the price of input in feed stock including corn, which is being utilised in the ethanol drive in some countries. The importation of 500, 000 pounds of chicken which was announced yesterday is a ‘one-off’ intervention by Government, he explained, and is expected to have an impact on reducing the current prices.

5m Editor