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Farmer Claims Chickens Lost Due to Negligence

by 5m Editor
25 June 2012, at 10:16am

JORDAN - A Palestinian farmer in the northern West Bank says 3,500 of his chickens died after Palestinian Authority Ministry of Agriculture officials failed to send samples for disease-testing despite committing to do so.

Khalid al-Sayfi, who owns a poultry farm of 9,000 chickens in the Nablus governorate, told Ma'an News Agency he consulted the ministry's veterinary department after noticing symptoms among his chickens.

The department took samples and said they would be sent to a laboratory near al-Arroub refugee camp in the southern West Bank. After seven days, Mr al-Sayfi discovered the samples had not been transferred for testing. He was told by officials they could not send the samples as all their vehicles were out of order.

"Had they told me from the beginning, I would have taken the samples myself," Mr al-Sayfi said, noting that the delay cost him 50,000 shekels ($12,800) in lost revenue after thousands of chickens died.

Palestinian farmers "do not receive enough support from the Ministry of Agriculture ... All they receive are directions," he said.

Director of the veterinary department Riyad Zuhd said the failure to send the samples "was beyond our control."

"One of our two vehicles is out of order completely, and the other cannot travel to Hebron because its tires are not appropriate. The ministry's officials are aware of this situation," he said.

Mr Zuhd said the farmer's samples were later tested and showed al-Sayfi had already given his chicken medicine before any diagnosis, which he called "unacceptable."

The department went on to recommend specific medicines, and is ready to provide services to all farmers in the northern West Bank, he said.