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Nigeria feels the effects of bird flu

The Nigerian government has been advised to make strict laws to curtail the importation of birds with avian flu into the country, as poultry farmers complain that a lack of compensation is sending them out of business.

Chief Peter Onuorah, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture of the Anambra State House of Assembly, said laws punishing those responsible for importing AI-affect birds into the country could save the nation's livestock from extinction.

Meanwhile, poultry farmers in Nigeria whose 300,000 birds were culled this year following an outbreak of the deadly strain of H5N1 avian flu say they could lose their farms to creditors over bank loan defaults.

Around 64 of 160 farmers who lost their poultry to the avian flu outbreak in Kano City were under pressure from banks to pay back loans or have their farms auctioned to enable banks to recover loans.

They complained they had still not been paid the 250 naira (US$2) per bird compensation promised by the Nigerian government.

"The federal government has not paid 64 farmers the paltry 250 naira per bird compensation and the farmers are being pestered by their creditors, particularly banks, to either pay their loans or have their farms auctioned," said Auwalu Haruna, secretary of Poultry farmers Association in Kano.

"Most of the farmers affected by the flu took loans from banks. Now that they have lost all their investment to avian flu and the government has not paid them the promised compensation that we feel is grossly inadequate, they are unable to pay back the loans on time," he said.

"If the banks sell off these farms, the poultry industry in Kano will be weakened further and that may even lead to its subsequent collapse," Haruna continued.

Editor WorldPoultry

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