Posted: Wednesday, June 7, 2023. 11:29 am CST.
Photo Credit: MAFSE
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Belize Poultry Association and other key producer are today meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise (MAFSE) to review and update the Avian Influenza Emergency Preparedness and Response Policy Plan. Other stakeholders such as the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) and the International Regional Organization for Plant and Animal Health (OIRSA) are participating in the meeting.
“The expected outcome of the meeting is for all farmers to agree on implementing the biosecurity practices stipulated in the comprehensive plan,” MAFSE said in a statement posted on social media.
“The meeting is being held in Belmopan at the Quality Poultry Conference Room. So far Belize has been free of this Virus, even though it has been detected in the region.”
MAFSE said the meeting is a matter of caution on the matter and seeks for Belize to be well prepared in case of any incursion.
Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease that affects birds, particularly poultry. The most common type of avian influenza is the ‘H5N1’.
Belize is ‘free’ of avian influenza; however, the disease remains a threat in the region and requires constant vigilance and cooperation from all parties involved. The meeting aims to ensure that all farmers are aware of and comply with the plan’s guidelines and recommendations.
After initial positive tests in Blue Creek, Orange Walk, last September, the Government instituted the Order of Areas Infected with Avian Influenza (H5) Disease. The affected areas were quarantined and 30,340 birds (28,100 regular birds and 2,240 egg-laying hens) on three farms were sacrificed. The loss was over $100,000.
Further testing of a total of 141 flocks in the declared infected area yielded negative results and MAFSE revoked the Infected Areas Order in November.
At the time, the Belize Poultry Association’s (BPA) General Manager Armando Cowo said that despite the cost it was better to err on the side of caution. The chicken producers, he said, acted quickly to avoid a potential spread in light of disruptions in the supply chain.
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