By Omolola Pedro
The Public Relations Officer of the Rivers State Chapter of Farmers Association of Nigeria (FAN), Ibim Daminabo, has advised members of the association, especially poultry and livestock farm owners, to brace up for new diseases ravaging the sector that accompany the rainy season. Daminabo, while advising farmers said poultry farmers need to be proactive in tackling the Newcastle disease. He charged farmers to, as a matter of urgency, engage the services of livestock medical experts to safeguard their birds from the Newcastle disease, which he said, is rampant during the rainy season.
“We will face diseases this rainy season such as Newcastle disease because of the weather. If the weather is cold, it is easier to transmit the disease from one farm to another. In preventing such disease, farmers will buy more drugs. Even the crops too, you will see many pests at this period, so farmers will spend more money in buying more spray for the farm”, he explained. He also noted that the season is not favourable to poultry farmers due to the high cost of feed and logistics challenges and that farmers should do everything possible to avert losses. Daminabo blamed the low supply of eggs and birds to customers across the state on the deplorable state of Nigerian roads citing the incessant rainfalls, as the cause.
According to him, “The challenges we are facing is how to bring out our farm products and also bring in feed during this rainy season. It has been a challenge because of the bad road. On my farm, I have over 500 crates of eggs, but customers cannot come in to buy these eggs and even if they come, taking them out is difficult, because the areas where the farms are located are where people are not staying”. He, however, called for government’s assistance to subsidise feeds saying the cost of feed is a challenge, as every day, the price is on the increase. The Newcastle disease is a highly contagious disease of birds caused by a para-myxo virus. Fowls, turkeys, geese, ducks, guinea fowl and other wild and captive birds, are birds usually affected by this disease. It has been identified to be responsible for over 70% of annual deaths in rural poultry production.