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