JOS – Poultry farmers in Plateau yesterday cried out that  bird flu remains  a serious threat to the nation’s economy and called on the Federal Government to tackle  it.
The farmers also called on government and other relevant authorities to expedite action on the  payment of  compensation to those whose farms were quarantined.
Alhaji Moshood Okanlawon, one of the poultry farmers, told newsmen in Jos that the disease,  which ravaged poultry farms recently,  had resulted  in  unemployment.
He explained that the negative economic implications of bird flu on the nation’s economy had a wider impact  on the lucrative poultry business.
‘’The incursion of bird flu has really affected the economy of Plateau and the nation at large because poultry business is very lucrative.
‘’I had  21 workers on  my payroll, but I had  to disengage them because the disease has left us with no option. I lost over 19, 800 birds.
‘’The implication of this on the economy has a wider impact because it has affected the farmers  that provide us with the crops, the feeds millers and finally the poultry farmers,’’ he said.
Another  farmer, Mrs Rebecca Okafor, said she had been into poultry farming in the last 18 years, describing it as a very ‘’ good  business.’’
She said poultry farming has tremendous economic importance, adding that  the avian influenza had destroyed the business.
Okafor explained that over 700 of her birds were infected by the disease and her farm was quarantined.
“ More than 75 crates of eggs and chickens being produced weekly had stopped and I cannot supply manure to local farmers.
‘’ I am very sympathetic with my workers because most of them earn their living in my farm but I have no option than to sack them, ‘’ she said.
Similarly, Alhaji Abdulazeez Qamarudeen said over 3, 650 of his birds were infected with bird flu.
He called on government to compensate farmers that were affected, saying poultry farming contributes  largely to the GDP of the  country  due to  generation  of employment and business opportunities.
‘’This is why government must not neglect this agriculture subsector of the economy because it will be dangerous to the economy,  ‘’ he said
But Mrs Gladys Okafor, the  Public Relations Officer, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) in Plateau, said the group  was doing everything possible to facilitate compensation  for farmers whose farms were quarantined.
She called on the affected farmers to exercise patience as government was looking into their plight.