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Insurance plan urged for bird flu-hit poultry sector

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  • Insurance plan urged for bird flu-hit poultry sector

    <TABLE class=dtback cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=636 align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=2><TABLE cellSpacing=10 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=631><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=621 align=center border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=center><TD colSpan=3 height=29><TABLE width=620 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=body01 width=288>Wed, Mar 24th, 2010 10:05 pm BdST

    </TD><TD class=warn style="FONT-SIZE: 11px" width=322>

    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Insurance plan urged for bird flu-hit poultry sector
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff colSpan=2><TABLE cellSpacing=5 cellPadding=0 width=631 align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=528 height=43>Dhaka, March 24 ( country's poultry industry, decimated by bird flu in recent years, should be brought under an insurance scheme so that it can recuperate from serious losses, a senior minister said Wednesday.

    A third of the country's poultry farms were forced to shut in the past two years due to inadequate support for recovery after the bird flu outbreaks in 2008 across the country.

    Some 50,000 out of 150,000 poultry farms, mostly small ones, collapsed due to the deadly disease, finance minister AMA Muhith told a conference of Kazi Farms agents at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.

    Food minister Abdur Razzak, who was also present, emphasised the need to ensure compensation for bird flu losses, for both small and large-scale farms. He said the industry must be brought under an insurance scheme to protect farmers from losses like the bird flu.

    Muhith said the government had earlier taken steps like low-interest bank loans and a stimulus package for poultry farmers after bird flu outbreak.

    Most poultry farms fall under the small and medium enterprise category. "They are contributing to the country in many ways, above all helping economic growth," Muhith said.

    The finance minister stressed that the industry was not only critical as a relatively low-cost source of protein but it also generated employment.

    "About five million people work in this sector and it can be doubled if the industry is properly supported," he said.

    Razzak also called on the department of livestock to take a quick decision regarding the import of bird flu vaccine.

    The poultry industry has long been demanding that the government allow import of the vaccine, which was also reiterated at Wednesday's conference.

    Sunil Chandra Gain, head of the government's livestock department, however, told the conference that a technical committee, formed over the matter, found that Bangladesh "is not in a situation to import vaccines".

    Gain asked poultry breeders to maintain quality standards and set rational prices for day-old chicks.

    Transparency in the production process was also important to avoid "artificial crises" in supply, he said.

    The conference, chaired by Kazi Farms head Kazi Zahedul Hasan, was attended by the company's 900 agents.

    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela