Bird flu descends on Nigeria

One of Nigeria’s most lucrative agricultural sectors, the poultry industry, has been struck with the H5N1 virus more commonly known as the bird flu. According to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture suggest that over 140,000 birds may have been exposed to the deadly disease and that over 21 farms spread across seven Nigerian states, including its commercial hub, Lagos, have either recorded cases or been exposed to the disease. Authorities believe the disease arrived in Lagos and Kano – the country’s two biggest commercial communities in Nigeria.

The poultry sector has seen tremendous growth in the last decade, growing faster than the oil, real estate, and telecommunication sectors combined. Most recently the sector had been said to be worth $3.2 billion. Media reports state that local farmers and retailers are already taking a knock with prices of live birds collapsing 73% in less than a month to N800 ($4) from a Christmas high of N3000 ($15). Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s agriculture minister, is however working hard to curb the infection rates stating that all 21 farms with suspected cases have been quarantined and birds suspected of exposure have been culled.  “All the farms have been quarantined and decontaminated. Other locations in Ikorodu, Ojo and Lagos Mainland have already been quarantined, while awaiting confirmation.” He assured farmers and consumers that his ministry was prepared to contain the most recent appearance of the H5N1 Bird Flu strain: “Nigeria will successfully control the bird flu outbreak. We have successfully controlled it in the past.” –