DA confirms bird flu cases in 2 N. Ecija towns
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol confirmed two cases of bird flu that hit the towns of Jaen and San Isidro in Nueva Ecija on Friday, killing a total of 307,000 birds.
This comes a week after Piñol confirmed a similar outbreak in San Luis, Pampanga that killed 37,000 birds.
In a statement, the secretary said specimens sent for laboratory tests conducted by the Animal Diseases Detection Laboratory showed positive of the H5 strain, which is the same virus that struck the poultry farms in San Luis.
The farm in Jaen has been wiped out while the layer farm in San Isidro lost about 200,000 heads, Pinol said in a Facebook post.
A total of 28,000 layer chickens, 22,000 ducks, 57,000 native chickens and 200,000 quails died from the outbreak.
Pinol said the same protocol will be followed in Nueva Ecijia, where the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) already established a one-kilometer contained radius and seven-kilometer controlled radius. Culling operations have already started since the report.
Experts from the Department of Health (DOH) will also be deployed to assist the Department of Agriculture (DA), although no bird-to-human transmissions had been reported.
While industry group Samahang Industriya sa Agrikultura (Sinag) fully supports DA’s measures, Sinag Chairman Rosendo So said the agency should clearly state what’s going to happen to poultries within the seven-kilometer controlled zone.
“The secretary said they should be contained. But what about those who do not have suspected virus? Why curtail the movement of their products? What will happen to the livelihood of these people?”
So said the solutions offered by the DA has been causing problems for the whole poultry industry which only cause panic in both producers and consumers instead of allaying their fears.
Since news of the avian flu outbreak, So said farm-gate prices of chickens have declined by 50 percent to P35-40 from P80-90, which is way below the farmers’ cost of production.
The group is calling for DA and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to lower chicken prices to P80-90 so consumers can at least benefit from the lose-lose scenario.
“This should be reflected in the retail prices because right now, there is an obvious disconnect from farm-gate prices to retail,” said So. JPV
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