March 26, 2007


Bangladesh culls 34,000 poultry birds in bird flu-hit areas 



Bangladesh has culled about 34,000 poultry after bird flu broke out in the areas of Savar and Gazipur last week.


The Adviser to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare ASM Matiur Rahman at a press briefing Friday assured consumers poultry are still safe for eating and the government is taking all measures to protect the country's poultry industry.


He pointed out that neighbouring countries like India and Myanmar had also been victims of the flu. Since they have tackled the situation successfully, Bangladesh would be able to do so as well, Rahman said.


Bangladesh is now implementing a 'National Avian Influenza and Human Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan' made in line with the FAO and WHO guidelines.


Bird flu in Bangladesh was confirmed after a positive test result from the FAO-run National Institute of Animal Health in Bangkok of Thailand.


Even in the affected area of Savar itself, poultry birds were being sold at their previous rates, as the information on detection of bird flu has not spread widely among the people.


Although prices may take a hit from the bird flu incidents, farmers are confident the impact would be limited as preventive measures have been taken.


Bangladesh currently consumes more than 500 million pieces and the country's current production is at 150 to 160 million pieces.


The farmers involved in this sector produce 6.0 billion eggs annually though the number is not enough to meet the total demand, sources said.


Bangladesh's poultry industry has turnovers of more than Tk 5.0 billion (US$72.5 milllion) annually with 1.5 million farmers directly engaged in this sector.

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