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DA, poultry stakeholders plan preventive measures on bird flu

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By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

A meeting between the Department of Agriculture (DA) officials and poultry industry stakeholders is slated this week that aims to come up with more effective measures to prevent another bird flu outbreak in the country.

MB File- Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol (Mark Balmores|Manila Bulletin)

Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol (Mark Balmores|Manila Bulletin File Photo)

According to DA Secretary Manny Piñol, a post-crisis analysis will happen “any time” this week to determine lessons learned in the first bird flu outbreak in the Philippines.

“The one-day assessment hopes to draw more realistic and effective plans of action to tighten biosecurity measures to prevent the outbreak of poultry diseases in the country,” Piñol said.

A Bio-Security Audit Program was ordered by the DA secretary immediately after a bird flu outbreak was reported in the municipality of San Luis in Pampanga.

Piñol explained that the audit program “needs to be institutionalized with the stakeholders themselves identifying and agreeing to a set of guidelines to ensure cleanliness in the farms.”

“Many of the farms I saw in the course of my visits to the Pampanga, for example, do not have the basic bio-security facilities, like a simple footbath and vehicle disinfection facility,” he pointed out.

“The farms do not even have a disposal area for dead fowls or wastes within the farm area,” he added.

“In several areas in Pampanga, for example, many of the poultry farms sit on fishpond areas with the chicken wastes just falling into the pond and polluting the water,” he also said.

Piñol noted that the DA will also propose measures on the proper disposal of chicken dung and its processing into organic fertilizer, which he said, must be implemented in all provinces with existing poultry farms.

He said they will also review existing protocols in declaring quarantine areas and restrictions on the movement of poultry and poultry products.

“In the country’s first bird flu outbreak, very strict protocols were enforced covering the one-kilometer contained radius and the seven-kilometer controlled radius which affected many farms,” Piñol said.

“While we have effectively contained the first case of bird flu in the country, there is a need to learn lessons from it so that in the future the situation could be handled more efficiently,” he added.

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