K600 mil­lion pro­vided for Monywa poul­try in­dus­try’s avian flu losses

The Myanmar Times - - News - PHYO WAI KYAW phy­owaikyaw@mm­times.com – Trans­la­tion by San Layy

THE Sa­gaing Re­gion govern­ment has dis­persed more than K600 mil­lion (US$478,000) to poul­try breed­ers since an April out­break of bird flu forced health of­fi­cials to cull tens of thou­sands of chick­ens in Monywa town­ship, ac­cord­ing to U Kyi Lwin Oo, deputy chair of the Sa­gaing Re­gion Live­stock Fed­er­a­tion.

The H9N2 avian in­fluenza virus hit a des­ig­nated poul­try farm­ing zone in Monywa ear­lier this year, lead­ing of­fi­cials to cull 130,000 chick­ens owned by 98 breed­ers. Sup­port for their losses has come from Union govern­ment cof­fers.

“Over K600 mil­lion has been given in sup­port to date,” U Kyi Lwin Oo said on Septem­ber 30. “There were about 160,000 chick­ens in the poul­try farm­ing zone but the num­ber of chick­ens left is only 30,000.”

U Myint Naing, who es­ti­mated that he had lost about 600 chick­ens, said back-to-back years grap­pling with the virus had left him wor­ried about the fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­ity of con­tin­u­ing the trade.

“I have no strength to carry on this poul­try farm­ing be­cause bird flu has oc­curred for two years con­sec­u­tively,” U Myint Naing told The Myan­mar Times last week. “The time in­vested, labour and the costs of an­i­mal feed were in vain.”

He added that he was grate­ful for the govern­ment as­sis­tance.

“I am happy to get the sup­port ... I want to breed chick­ens out­side the poul­try farm­ing zone if it is pos­si­ble. If the virus oc­curs in the zone, it eas­ily spreads be­cause the farms are very close to one an­other.”

Monywa’s chicken farm­ing zone spans more than 120 acres. A sim­i­lar area for quail breed­ing was not af­fected by the lat­est bird flu out­break be­cause it was sep­a­rated from the chicken pens.

Culling af­ter an out­break of a dif­fer­ent bird flu strain, H5N1, in April 2015 cost Monywa breed­ers more than K600 mil­lion in lost chick­ens and quails.

From 2006 to 2015, seven bird flu out­breaks were recorded in Sa­gaing and Man­dalay re­gions, ac­cord­ing to the Live­stock Breed­ing and Ve­teri­nary Depart­ment.

Trans­mis­sion of the virus to hu­mans has been rare, how­ever, with health of­fi­cials cit­ing the com­monly ob­served kitchen prac­tice of fully cooking meat be­fore con­sump­tion.

Dr Ye Tun Win, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Live­stock Breed­ing and Ve­teri­nary Depart­ment, told state me­dia that with ef­fec­tive han­dling of the bird flu out­break, con­sumers need not worry.

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